Annalise Natasha Gratovich
One tends to be captured by art either through the unique immersive process by which it is created or the work itself has an inexplicably captivating sense of wonder in completion. The greatest of artists– those who become catalysts for the aspiring seeking motivations in those striving to create beauty on their own– stand out through their ability to do both. Annalise Natasha Gratovich not only finds her work significant in exemplifying both cornerstones of greatness, she goes a step further through the lens of heritage and tradition to challenge social mores. Her woodcuts advocate for positive present change giving voice to the devastating reality of the marginalized. Standing before her prints shakes your entire being, the purpose and meticulous detail an afterthought behind the beauty, still it is powerfully ever-present.
The color in Gratovich’s work is applied through a process called chine collé, a technique of collaging different pieces of paper onto the print with one pass through the printing press. She carefully hand dyes the colored papers, a practice evocative of the textile industry, further strengthening the importance of the textiles within the work.
“The Journey. Searching. Longing/Belonging. Home identity. Personhood… Where are you? Where am I? Can we, will we, be together? My work explores themes of displacement, self and cultural identity, intention and accountability, as well as burden and regret. The figures are based on matryoshka dolls (Russian stacking dolls) and the textile patterns are derived from Ukrainian embroidery, either in patterning or stylistic outline. This nod to the traditional and folk arts of the lands of my heritage, Ukraine and the American South, is important and used to invoke feelings of nostalgia- memories or fantasies of far away places which are lost or cannot be returned to. I consider my work most successful when a viewer is compelled to dream of these memories and places, when they relate to my characters, and in that way I consider my work a visual continuation of what is shared through the rich and important art of storytelling.”
Gratovich is based out of Austin,TX. Her most recent works were published by Evil Prints in St. Louis, MO and Cannonball Press in Brooklyn, NY. Her art has been featured in numerous private and public collections including an acquisition by the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Exhibitions of her work have shown in New York, NY, Denver, CO, Dawson City, Youkon, and Laramie, WY. She is the Associate Gallery Director at the fine art print publisher Flatbed Press and a member of the Board of Directors for Print Austin; a month long printmaking festival focusing on exhibitions, special events, and education. She is a sought-after visiting artist and speaker throughout the state of Texas. Gratovich was a featured guest this past fall at New Leaf Editions in Vancouver, B.C.
One of her major ongoing projects is an 8 block series which began six years ago titled “Carrying Things From Home” which are co-published by Gratovich and Flatbed Press and has included involvement of other artists Tracy Mayrello, Alex Giffen, and Sean Muldrow. This year as part of the eight block series she has printed “The Mother” and “The Undertaker” (see image at top of page) which are numbers five and six respectively.
Her woodcut “Borderland,” published by Evil Prints, has the print sale proceeds going to support the nonprofit Texas Civil Rights Project as they work to reunite families separated by the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy while advocating for over 350 clients across the state of Texas. To date,Gratovich and her collectors have raised $2000 for TCRP through the first five sales of “Borderland.” When describing the details of the piece Gratovich says,“Yucca and cactus appear in my work often; these plants signify endurance, resilience, protection, they are also a symbol of my homeland. The border wall is not something many of us in Texas, or those who live along the border want- it’s a humanitarian, cultural and ecological disaster. What is currently happening here is unacceptable; the state sanctioned violence towards migrants and refugees; the psychological torture of separated families and stolen children. There are people who join the organization Border Angels to create water stations for those traveling through the desert, or simply leave jugs of water along pathways for those who find and need them. Border patrol cut open these jugs- not only wasting the precious lifesaving water inside them but also destroying the vessels so they cannot be used again. This action to me is such a simple distillation of the inhumanity of border politics and the violence of nationalism. I’m honored to have this opportunity to partner with others in supporting TCRP as they work to reunite separated families and demand that everyone involved in this crisis is treated with the dignity and humanity they deserve.”
Certainly we hope you get the opportunity of seeing her work firsthand to feel the affecting timeless beauty in it, more so though we believe through the experience you as well will find motivation towards speaking beside Gratovich to face these injustices together proving once more the power art of such pointed perfection can possess.
If you happen to be looking for a smaller perfect woodcut print there are a few available through Cannonball Press.