GALLIPOLIS — In her first solo art show in a gallery space, local artist Addison Coldren is featuring an alternative darkroom photography process called Mordancage.
In her show, “Mordant”, 11 framed pieces of the process are on display. Mordancage is process by which one places photographs in a chemical bath where the paper is physically changed through bleaching and etching. “Mordant” will be on display at The Artisan Shoppe, Studio and Gallery, located at 749 Third Avenue, through March.
“It literally lifts the top layers of the paper off. It breaks it down and creates veils and color change. It’s a really unstable, unpredictable process,” said Coldren. “The end work, you don’t know whether you’re going to get color changes or whether you’re going to get anything that looks remotely like the original photograph.”
Her displayed pieces were created while Coldren was attending Wittenberg University in Springfield, where she was taught the process by her professor. She ultimately made it a focus of her artwork that semester. While she loved the process, it has been the only time she’s been able to experiment with Mordancage, due to the chemicals used and the special safety equipment needed.
Throughout her life, Coldren said she was always making art but it was at River Valley High School, where she was introduced to a variety of mediums, that Coldren considered pursuing an art degree. During that time, she also secured her first, good digital camera and began exploring photography and served as a photographer for the school newspaper. When she entered Wittenburg, she planned to major in photography but the school encouraged art students to explore other mediums. It was then that she found the art of jewelry making and eventually graduated with a degree in silver jewelry design.
The act of physically creating something, taking one thing and forming it into another, beautiful thing is what drew Coldren to jewelry making.
“Which ties back into why I like this photography process. I love photography but doing this was where I felt the most like I was creating something in photography. I could see the complete physical change of the paper and the colors and trying to control something that is a little bit uncontrollable,” said Coldren.
In addition to the process being unique, Coldren also said it changes over time due to the effect the lights and other elements have on the pieces.
“This is the only time you’ll see them as they are,” said Coldren. “They’re going to be different from the beginning of the show to the end of the show.”
As for the future, Coldren is currently focused on jewelry making and has been able to use those skills at The Karat Patch Diamonds-N-Gold, where she works, to help customers customize jewelry pieces.
“I just love people coming in, people I’ve known since I was a child, coming and getting something they’re going to wear forever,” said Coldren. She hopes to branch out to designing custom pieces, like engagement rings, in the future.
When she has time, she has continued with other art mediums like painting and photography and appreciates the opportunity The Artisan Shoppe, Studio and Gallery has given her and other local artists to sell and showcase their artwork.
Visit www.theartisanshoppe.org for hours and more information. In addition to her work being on display, The Artisan Shoppe will also be taking preorders for prints of Coldren’s pieces.