ArtXchange Gallery is proud to present, Luminous Rhythms, a new solo exhibition by Vashon Island-based print artist Joan Wortis. In this new series Wortis combines line, light, and visual rhythm to create ethereal monotype collages. Wortis guides delicate sheets of translucent paper through her printing press with a variety of experimental materials and inks, creating unique textures and linear surfaces. She then layers the papers and adds collage elements, allowing light, color, and line to combine into captivating compositions. In her new work, these delicate layered prints are mounted to plexiglass and displayed in ways that allow light to pass through, transforming color, illuminating lines, and creating glowing abstractions.
In Luminous Rhythms Wortis returns to her primary theme, an exploration of “forms moving rhythmically in space,” as she describes in her artist statement. In densely linear works, such as Tango and Twirling, intertwining net-like forms fill the page with brief, strong brush-marks caught or tangled within. Works such as Pronouncement and Call and Response showcase script-like lines more clearly, as they stream down the surface in tangled silhouettes without being readable or recognizable, as if viewing an ancient tablet in a language that has been lost to the ages.
Movement has always influenced Wortis’ work, with a previous career in modern dance giving her a deep sensitivity to the lyrical qualities of line and shape. “It is the beauty of the lines and the infinite variety of how they form on paper that draws me in,” writes Wortis of her interest in the strokes that create alphabets, symbols, and patterns. Wortis arranges abstract lines drawn from global calligraphy and script, exploring how different qualities of line become imbued with meaning.
Originally from New York City, Wortis’ extensive career in the arts has spanned modern dance, hand-weaving, commercial textile design, printmaking and collage. Following 15 years as a modern dancer and choreographer in the United States and Mexico, Wortis transitioned to the world of visual art after studying weaving and textile design with renowned artists Adela Akers and Jack Lenor Larsen. After a period of living and traveling around the world, Wortis brought her textile sensibility to creative possibilities in monotype, collage and assemblage. This work has been exhibited at galleries and museums including the Shenzhen Art Institute in China, Nexus Gallery in NYC, Seattle Art Museum Gallery, Tacoma Art Museum, CoCA, Kirkland Arts Center and the Jacob Lawrence Gallery at the University of Washington.