Where We Are, And Where We Are Going: Alynn Guerra at Forest Hills Fine Art Center


By Steve Davison

Bliss, by Allynn Guerra
“Bliss”, Alynn Guerra,  photo Red Hydrant Press

Climate change is real, that much is certain.  What is uncertain are the long term effects it will have on the planet and living organisms that inhabit it and yes, that includes us.  Every day the news feed is filled with predictions and indicators that offer a spectrum of possible apocalypses.  The white noise and anxiety regarding the future can leave one feeling hopeless in the face of it all; so much so that one can easily forget that there may be solutions, there may be hope.

Artist Alynn Guerra addresses such uncertainties in her must-see exhibition at Forest Hills Fine Art Center.  The one person show which runs until March 25th, includes new work as well as earlier prints exploring similar themes.

Like the many layers in her prints, Guerra’s images convey much depth and meaning. Themes include direct social commentary, nature, humor, hope, and an element of mystery.  Perhaps her greatest gift is the ability to raise awareness through her art.  Whether it’s a series addressing the consequences of patent protection for corporate-produced seeds upon farmer’s rights and the common right of saving seeds , or a piece inspired by a line in Ernesto Cardenal‘s poem “New Ecology”, Guerra’s prints are alive with a duality of conscience and heart; her work is always imaginative, contemplative and searching for new possibilities.

Guerra Reduction Plate PRint
photo: Red Hydrant Press

Motherhood brings new perspective
Guerra recently became a mother, and the experience of having a child has changed her perspective on the future. She says that motherhood has brought new reflections, which are evident in her current work.

“This work really wasn’t the result of inspiration, I would say it is more a reaction to the many signs of climate change, realizing that your existence transcends when you become a parent,” Guerra says. “My hope is that we will adapt and collaborate with nature and each other, because without that I wouldn’t be able to get up every morning.”

Ever able to adapt to a change in circumstances, Guerra began employing reduction plate printing, a complex process that involves carving away layers of the plate as new colors are added.  She describes the method as, “a suicide print because you end up destroying the plate (carving) in the process.”

Reduction Print Plate,  Alynn Guerra, Red Hydrant Press
Reduction Print Plate, photo: Red Hydrant Press

Accustomed to spending long hours at Red Hydrant Press, motherhood restricted the amount of time Guerra could spend working in the studio.  In a way the new approach was born out of necessity, and as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention.

“I used to spend all day at the studio doing reprints to stock-up for art fairs, but when my studio time became way limited, and therefore precious, I wanted to make the most of it, so I started working on bigger and more complex carvings,” she says. “The pros and cons of color reductions are that you get a very limited edition but also you have to print everything at once.”

The technique indicates a continued artistic evolution for Guerra, which began a few years ago when started to experiment with the process. Each subsequent print, reached new stylistic heights.  The complexity paid-off, resulting in prints comprised of layers of harmonized color that are markedly different from her signature black and white prints.

The public is invited to the artist’s reception at Forest Hills Fine Art Center on Thursday, March 10th from 6-7 pm.  You can speak to Guerra in person about this new process and see the new work that includes an interactive piece.

To view more of Alynn Guerra’s art or to buy one or more of Guerra’s prints visit:  Red Hydrant Press.

Alynn Guerra: Woodcut and Linoleum Block Prints
March 4 – 25, 2016
Forest Hills Fine Art Center
600 Forest Hills Ave. SE
Grand Rapids, MI

The exhibit is free and open to the public.
FHFAC Hours:  Monday-Friday, 9AM-5PM

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