Maria Neil Art Project Kicks Off 2016 With an Exhibition of Work From Jen Craun


  • Jen Craun; "not so"
After a New Year’s Day Walk All Over Waterloo last week, the arts district’s various galleries and small business are busy again this weekend. In addition to the Fandom216 Tailgate Kickoff Party at Waterloo Arts this Sunday, John Farina and Adam Tully’s Maria Neil Art Project hosts an opening reception from 5 to 10 p.m. this Friday, Jan. 8 for their first exhibition of 2016, Jen Craun’s Inherent.

Last May, Craun left her position as Associate Director of Zygote Press after 10 years to pursue her studio practice full time. She keeps a meticulously detailed journal and calendar, and has been reassessing her goals at the end of each month. Maria Neil Art Project previewed her work during last spring’s Northern Ohio Art Dealers Association’s ARTExpo 2015 at Transformer Station.

"Jen's elegant and articulate work showcases not only what is inherent in her subject matter, but what is equally present in her artistic makeup,” Tully says. ”Each piece is a great representation of the medium. This show is beautiful."

Craun’s exhibition of recent wood intaglio prints is inspired by the molecular and chemical properties of her materials, invisible to the eye. Through her imagery and compositions, Craun connects her final works back to the processes and materials that created each of them.

“Wood intaglio, as a medium of printmaking, offers me the opportunity to showcase the inherent structure and properties of the wood, because I can index the grain by printing the plate in the intaglio method where ink is squeegeed into the plate, polished off of the top surface, and then printed under pressure onto dampened cotton paper,” the artist explains. “Wood is also a receptive partner to draw upon by carving, sanding, and coating with layers of polyurethane and other materials to creating the imagery within my work.”

She ellaborates, “This new work continues my investigations into what we can take from the earth, and what we can make from it. Collectively and individually they mull on aspects of the notion that everything we have is either grown or mined. Through the prints, I make visual connections to the molecular and chemical makeup of elements often invisible to the eye, revealing similarities to their final state of refinement. I enjoy making puns with my work by exploiting the overlap of language and terminology specific to the processes that I am investigating, such as: what’s yours is mined, or good as gold. These language plays become entry points for the viewer, making quick access to the work that is relatable to everyday experience. I’m honored to have the opportunity to showcase these new prints in such a gem of a gallery (pun intended).”

Jen Craun earned her BFA in Art Education from Kent State University in 2000. After graduation, she traveled to Europe where she studied printmaking in Florence, documenting her travels and creating a series of woodcut prints and numerous artist journals. During her stay, she traveled to Paris, London, Rome and Berlin. Craun returned to Kent State as a Graduate Teaching Assistant; earning her MFA in printmaking in 2003. The same year, she was awarded an Artists Residency scholarship by Zygote Press, and the following year she travelled back to Germany as part of the Ohio Arts Council’s Dresden Exchange Artist in Residency with the Grafikwerkstatt Printshop in Dresden, Germany.

In addition to printmaking, Craun specializes in the production of handmade Artist Books. She currently teaches Artist Book courses as an adjunct professor at the Cleveland Institute of Art. She also participates in teaching residencies for both printmaking and book arts programs as one of the lead artist-residents for the Progressive Arts Alliance, a nonprofit organization which partners with local schools to provide much-needed professional arts integration.

Her work is part of the permanent art collections of such institutions as the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Vern Riffe Center for Government and Arts of The Ohio Arts Council, the Grafikwerkstatt Printshop, Cleveland Institute of Art Gund Library Artist Book Collection, MetroHealth Hospitals, Westin Hotel Cleveland, Intercontinental Hotel Cleveland, Southern Graphic Council, Kent State University Printmaking Archives, Akron School of Art and Zygote Press, Inc.

Inherent remains on view through Feb. 14 during regular gallery hours: Wednesdays from 3 to 8 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. and by appointment.
(Maria Neil Art Project) 15813 Waterloo Rd., 216-481-7722,

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