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Wednesday October 26, 2016
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Gravure Á l'Eau Forte



One was in front of a pair of Spanish prints at Noah's Underground Gallery. The next occasion involved Richard Harrington's sculptures at Gallery 212. And the latest capital-A Art-induced pasta epiphany came in front of thirty-six Nele Zirnite prints at the brand-new Paloma Gallery.

Capital-A Art has three ingredients: visionary, oracle-like imagination that blows your brain's socks off; perfect — not good, perfect — technique and craftsmanship; and a sense that the artist has the gas pedal jammed to the floor and is holding nothing back in pouring her soul into the work.

Lithuanian printmaker Zirnite makes velvety dreamscapes containing imagery whose originality is an order of magnitude above the norm. She makes them with a needle, pressing millions of microdots into a metal plate that can take up to two years to complete. According to energetic, six-foot-nine gallery owner Patrick Thompson, Zirnite inks and prints the works herself on an antique press, instead of handing the plates to a printer, as many printmakers do. The resulting precise control of color lends another layer of meaning to the works.

Prayer is a three-quarters view of a man praying with eyes closed. In the place of a normal head, the contours of his face are delineated by the branches of a tree growing from the collar of his robe, which is patterned with animals and birds so as to resemble an Edenlike landscape of peaceful creatures. The reverent and meditative mood suggests a love of the earth's creatures so deep that it is transforming.

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University of Michigan Museum of Arts