Convergence & Divergence: Leah Virsik & Deborah Griffin Look at Memories: Sun Gallery, Hayward, CA

Artwork: (L) Manhattan (detail) mixed-media ©2012 Leah Virsik  (R) The White Oak Schoolhouse mixed-media ©2012 Deborah Griffin

For Immediate Release:
Convergence & Divergence: Two Artists Look at Memories featuring the work of Leah Virsik and Deborah Griffin | October 10, 2012–November 10, 2012
Opening Reception November 3, 2012 | Hours: 1–3 p.m. in conjunction with the Día de los Muertos Exhibit
Sun Gallery (in the The Ken Cook Gallery) 1015 E Street, Hayward, CA 94541
Gallery hours: Wed.–Sat. 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Contact: Deborah Griffin at 510-435-3806 or Leah Virsik at 510-418-9383

In this exhibit, Convergence & Divergence, Leah and Deborah bring together their distinct and individual imagery and in the juxtaposition discover areas that overlap in textures, shapes, colors and the medium of collage. The works diverge in elements of realism and abstraction and medium. Leah uses three dimensional sculpture and the book arts, and Deborah composes digital imagery and archetypal characters in surrealistic environments. You will observe found materials and deliberately upcycled items in Leah’s work, yet both use vintage materials, personal mementos and ephemera to create their vision. The exhibit has an overall continuity and invites the viewer’s participation in seeking the likenesses and differences as the artists examine memory and its underlying influence on their artistic creations.

I consider myself an artist and a storyteller, and attempt to combine the two into a visual narrative. I incorporate one of the oldest artist’s materials (encaustic) with some of the most recent (digital collage). The evocative surface texture combined with the vintage ephemera and my own photography of farm life and country landscape creates an image-story that hopefully resonates with those places of soul and history in everyone.
In addition, I use ephemera from the past and photographic elements both vintage and specifically taken for a project. With those elements I repurpose and reposition the people, places and things to tell a new story, to fashion a new narrative that explores archetypal characters and ideas utilizing a digital workflow as part of the process. The end result, whether an original digital print or an image manipulated then printed for inclusion in a collage or encaustic work, originates from my photography and becomes the form most appropriate for expressing my ideas. ~Deborah Griffin

As I create a work, I’m attempting to uncover a stifled sound, to visually express what I can not articulate. I collage using found and painted papers and they either come together as a finished work or they diverge into something new and unexpected like my paper stacks. These works include my own torn journal entries that I use as a way of making more meaningful and personal work. The act of tearing my written words and giving them new life reduces their preciousness and infuses my memories into what I create. My life and art converge as the paper stacks mirror the piles of paper in my office.  Yet these pieces show commitment and a focused effort of connecting seemingly disparate fragments to create pieces larger than myself. Through this work, I gain a greater understanding of myself. ~Leah Virsik

In addition, Leah Virsik will be teaching a Paper and Stitch Collage Class October 21, 2012 | 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. at the Sun Gallery, 1015 E Street, Hayward, CA 94541. For additional details visit: Total $100.00 per student includes some materials**. To sign up for the class contact Jacqueline Cooper, Director, Autobody Fine Art at 510.881.6974, or e-mail

In this class, you’ll combine paper, thread and your own meaningful imagery to create a series of small collages. The morning will be spent painting a variety of some of my favorite transparent papers. Afterward, you’ll reconstruct these to make a series of four by six-inch collage compositions. Techniques to help unify your works will be discussed. Hand-stitching and embroidery will be demonstrated and you’ll leave with several wood-mounted collages to display.

**Materials include use of glue brush, paper, PVA, matte medium, collage materials and use of needles, embroidery thread and T-pins, several pieces of wood, wire and eyehooks. Please bring: a small amount of collage materials if desired (some will be provided), scissors, craft knife (i.e.: X-Acto knife with no. 11 blades or comparable), triangle or L-square and ruler or quilt square or rectangle, self-healing cutting mat, squeegee for burnishing paper, bookbinding awl (or T-pins will be provided).

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