Illinois State alumna Megan Hinds ’16’s collection of 13 evocative three-dimensional layered intaglio prints offer viewers different perspectives inspired by the changing textures and colors of the natural world. Recently displayed at the Joe McCauley Gallery at Heartland Community College, Altered Formations is a selection of abstract prints that are hand-cut and layered to convey multiple, atmospheric perspectives.

As visitors entered the gallery they were presented with a series of eight cloud formations that illustrate a progression of time.

“You’re on the ground and you’re looking up at them, you’re looking at this murmuration, the color vibrations all combining at once, and you’re realizing that there are these elements that are moving in the sky and that we’re affecting that space,” Hinds said.

“And then as you turn to the right wall of the gallery you’re looking at the sky looking down at three land formations and how they vary, and how we affect that space as well, and how they’re moving and undulating,” she said. “There is history to different marks in the land. These juxtaposed positions were created to examine and apply the way these spaces can be altered. They abstractly convey the undeniable truth that people, interactions, and environments change and evolve while remaining the same on some level through pattern and repetition.”

In the center of the back wall, visitors would see themselves reflected in a convex security mirror that merges these views together. This allowed the viewer to reflect on how they affect the space and nature depicted in the artwork.

“The mirror brings in a sense of familiarity to viewers to provide comfort in a space of artwork, and to bring new meaning to space and the environment,” Hinds said.

Framing the mirror are two small-scale urban aerial views of a cityscape. She made the pieces small, like the cloud formations, so the viewer would have to move closer to view all the layers and shadows and explore the small spaces.

“My artwork deals with nature, communication, and color theory,” she said. “I believe we are all missing some of the simplicity in our world due to our fast-paced realities. I create my layered prints to encourage the viewers to stop and search through the image; explore, discover, and spend time with nature I am depicting.”

Hinds has always had a love of drawing. She was introduced to intaglio at Illinois State University and soon learned the level of intricacy, detail, and variety in printmaking. She fell in love with the process, precise line quality, and the idea of editions.

“I soon became interested in a varied edition, printing my image over and over but changing color, paper, or orientation each time,” she said. “I wanted to create work that caused the viewer to move around and explore.”

She studied pop-up books, shadow books, and paper sculpture. Inspired by these, she started hand cutting her prints and layering. The results give the once two-dimensional drawings a sense of depth, space, shadow, and complexity.

All of the pieces are copper etching and monotype prints that are hand cut and assembled. Copper etching is used to create a drawing onto a plate of copper that has an acid-resistant material on it. Once the drawing is complete she places the copper plate into an acid bath, and the acid eats away all the exposed copper, creating the engraved image.

She then inks it and rolls the copper and paper through a large printing press. All of the color is comprised of hand-mixed inks that are rolled onto the plate. She repeats this process many times; changing color, paper, and placement of the plate. Once all of her printing is complete she begins to pair up images based on color, texture, and form and begins the cutting process. The images are then assembled and held together by small paper tabs.

Megan resides in Chicago and works at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Visitor Services. She continues her printmaking practice at Chicago Printmakers Collaborative.


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