February 19, 2019 | Topics: featured artist
Todd Mrozinski is one of 12 artists participating in a year-long residency program called ARTservancy, a collaboration between Gallery 224 in Port Washington and the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust. Each artist has selected an OWLT preserve to spend time in and to engage with. To read more about the artist in residency program, click here.
Artist Statement by Todd Mrozinski
As I walked through the tall grasses of Fellenz Woods I thought about etching, about the quivering line that happens when a metal point glides through a black painted ground into a copper plate. In many ways, etched lines mimicked these hardy plants and grasses, flexible and flowing with a hint of stiff resistance. With each step the soft damp ground underfoot felt like thick German paper, soaked, blotted and prepared for printing. The sepia soil collected in the grooves on my boots like an inked plate saturated and rubbed, ready to be proofed.
Wind rustling milkweed, crickets, birds, and frogs provided a symphony of subtle sounds. Queen Anne’s Lace, haloed by the sun, danced and bobbed in the partly cloudy skies. As the sun set the land simplified and transformed into silhouettes, revealing her patterns and secrets more clearly. During my visits I have zealously collected photos and videos that may be paired with music or become the subject for future etchings.
Every journey into an unknown place not only gives us a better understanding of our world but can symbolize a journey into ourselves. With each visit I go deeper into the woods. The path starts wide and well hewn but narrows and fluctuates as I proceed. I started etching a short time before this residency began and with each new plate I grow as an artist and as a printmaker. Around each turn is a new composition, a new discovery.
At one point on my journey I was dwarfed by a wave of towering grasses. A spindly tree peeked over the crest and watched the spectacle with amusement. Around another turn stood a huge, solitary ash tree, which reminded me of a proud civil war general. I backed up as far as the path allowed to take its picture, but still the edges of the branches were cropped. As I glanced at the photo I knew it would become an etching and happily anticipated many hours of future commune with this old soul and new composition.
Because Fellenz Woods is both prairie and woods, the multiplicity of vegetation is breathtaking. As I get to know it more my feeling for it deepens. After etching and studying its beauty I have noticed a heightened sense in my perception of the edges of things, especially plant life and foliage. I’m excited to see the work that will grow out of this collaboration and anticipate my next journey deeper into the woods.
It is an honor to collaborate with Fellenz Woods for this residency. The delicacy and variety of grasses and vegetation has inspired me to make a series of etchings based on the photos and videos I have taken during my visits. During this residency, I have been exploring the multiplicity of the elements of Fellenz Woods during different times of day, lighting conditions and seasons. I hope that this series will give the viewer a sense of the beauty, diversity and spiritual resonance that Fellenz Woods has to offer.
To learn more about Fellenz Woods Preserve, click here.
Todd Mrozinski received a BFA in painting and drawing from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 1997. He was the recipient of a Fredrick Layton Scholarship and attended The New York Studio Program. He has been in solo and group exhibitions nationwide and his work is in various public and private collections. The natural elements, shadows and his immediate environment are his subject matter. Mrozinski’s work is produced in series, each series relates symbolically to his life experience and grows out of present-day observation and inspiration. He served as the 2015-16 Pfister Artist-in-Residence and curator of The Pfister Pop-Up Gallery, where he made paintings based on the cast shadows of visitors and architectural features in the historic hotel. He is an exhibiting artist at Portrait Society Gallery, Milwaukee, WI and is represented by The Woodman/Shimko Gallery, Provincetown, MA.