Local Alaskan artist to showcase unique medium in ARC Gallery

Carol Lambert, an Alaskan resident since 1979 and an artist much earlier, is a prominent figure in the Alaskan printmaking community and is bringing her expertise to the university.

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Authorized, 2018, 8 x 8, etching, aquatint, chine colle Photo credit: Carol Lambert

“Wily Women and Other Survivors,” featuring prints exclusively by Lambert, is the newest exhibition to be featured in the ARC Gallery in the UAA/APU Consortium Library. The exhibition includes a variety of images, including women, men and animals such as horses, that portray a theme of survival.

Inspiration for the pieces and title of the exhibition came from Lambert’s history of working with survivors and being one herself.

“I know how inventive and strategic and clever women have to be to survive, so the ‘Wily Women’ part of the title is because that’s what I know,” she said. “The ‘Other Survivors’ part refers to the fact that that’s really true of everyone and every being that’s alive to some degree.”

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The Green Man, 2018, 12 x 12, etching and aquatint Photo credit: Carol Lambert

Because of the variety of messages each image carries with it, Lambert believes that viewers can really connect with her work in unique ways.

“I hope that viewers can make up their own story to go with each of the images and recognize themselves or something in their experience that connects to that image,” she said. “My work is meant to be poetic and metaphoric… But some of the images are a bit humorous.”

Inspired by her grandfather’s political cartoons and other 20th century cartoonists at a young age, Lambert went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts in both art and art history from Brown University. After a period of not being able to pursue art as much as she liked, Lambert took up painting again in her 50s, which eventually brought her back to printmaking.

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“Printmaking is really a passion of mine, and I have so much to learn as a printmaker, so it keeps me engaged,” she said. “I just like the character of the lines and how much you can express with a little bit of squiggle.”

Riva Symko, curator of UAA’s Kimura Gallery and manager of the ARC Gallery, appreciates Lambert’s skill and attention to detail in her work, as well as her unique medium. She feels that her artwork positively reflects the mission of the ARC Gallery.

“It is important to us to keep the gallery focused on professional Alaskan artists who are dedicated to developing their skill set in a professional way,” Symko said. “[Lambert] is a really skilled and dedicated printmaker. She has a good sense of lines and figures, and I think her work is interesting and has skillful content.”

This is Lambert’s first show made up entirely of prints. All of the pieces in the exhibition are made from a process called intaglio etching, a technique more than 400 years old. The prints first start as drawings, which are then transferred to copper plates. The image is drawn into the copper with a sharp tool, then immersed into a mixture that bites away at the copper, leaving ditches for the ink to fill. The plate, covered in ink, is then run under a high pressure roller, picking up the image from the ink in the ditches.

Many of the pieces in the exhibition have been a work in progress for a year or two, and Lambert encourages young artists to let the often lengthy art-making process inspire rather than discourage them.

“I’ve spent a lot of time over my life going to museums, and they never get old for me. There are paintings that I could go back to over and over and over again. It feels like I’m checking my mail, and the mail always said, ‘Don’t give up,’” she said. “You never know quite what you’re doing until you’re done.”

“Wily Women and Other Survivors” will open on Nov. 14. and run until Dec. 21 in the ARC Gallery, located between the UAA/APU Consortium Library and Kaladi Brothers Cafe in UAA’s Social Science Building. An opening reception will be held in the gallery on Nov. 16 from 4:30 – 7 p.m.