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Venice Printmaking Studio, an international studio devoted to large-format printmaking and artist's books, had been on my radar for a potential residency. Last fall, I finally wrote a proposal and sent in my application. The response was positive, the time frame established, and over spring break I spent a rainy week in a cold studio making large prints on the small island of Murano (one of the islands in the Venetian lagoon, known primarily for glassmaking). The unheated studio was spacious and equipped with the large, industrial-looking Swedish press on which I would work. It required two people to run and I was the only artist in residence. But Gianfranco Gorini, the 80 year old director, was around to offer assistance and cook lunch for the two of us each day. He enjoyed expressing his views on art and world politics and was a strong presence during a very intense week.
The residency included an apartment, a 10 minute walk from the studio. Since I was to be at the studio each day by 9 am, I had breakfast in the apartment but sought my coffee at any number of the local bars. In Italy, one stands at the bar for a coffee; to sit marked you a tourist (although on a small island it was hard to pass as a local) and you paid more, as well. Each day I passed the Chiesa (church) del Santi Maria e Donato. Originally built in the 7th century and known to have been rebuilt several times, it contained Byzantine traces such as brilliant floor mosaics. Most spectacular was the onion-domed apse, which held an amazing image of the Madonna, robed in brilliant blue, coming in for a landing on her flying carpet on a background of gold mosaic! I stopped in often to gaze at this.
After crossing a series of small canals, the print studio was accessed through thick, blue glass doors that led into a large, industrial complex which included glass and metal works, all facing the northern lagoon. By the end of the first day, I had decided to concentrate on printing a series of windows; “portals” through which I would revisit my Venetian experience. Eventually completed in mixed media, these composite “glimpses” occupied many months as I worked toward communicating a “spirit of place” in each one.
In addition to a cruise down the Grand Canal of Venice, I visited two other island communities further north of Murano: the colorful fishing and lace-making island of Burano, and the serenely quiet Torcello, where a 13th century monastery contained amazing mosaics of the Last Judgment.
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Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Venetian Lagoon 2013
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Venetian Lagoon 2013
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Venetian Lagoon 2013
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Venetian Lagoon 2013
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Venetian Lagoon 2013
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Venetian Lagoon 2013
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Venetian Lagoon 2013
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Venetian Lagoon 2013
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Venetian Lagoon 2013
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Venetian Lagoon 2013
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Venetian Lagoon 2013
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Venetian Lagoon 2013
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Venetian Lagoon 2013
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Venetian Lagoon 2013
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Venetian Lagoon 2013
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Venetian Lagoon 2013
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Venetian Lagoon 2013
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Venetian Lagoon 2013
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Venetian Lagoon 2013
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Venetian Lagoon 2013
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Venetian Lagoon 2013
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Venetian Lagoon 2013
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