Eugene artist Tallmadge Doyle peers up into the eternity of outer space and down into the depths of Earth’s oceans in the 30-some pieces she has created for a new show of her art that opens next week at Karin Clarke Gallery.
Doyle is known for her intricate, almost obsessive, works on paper that combine elements of printmaking in its various forms, from woodcuts to etching, with collage, painting and drawing.
Inspired by her fascination with science and love of its documentation, from historical maps to images beamed from the Hubble Space Telescope, Doyle creates beautifully colored works on paper and on wood panels that inhabit the boundary between science fiction and reality.
We’re not talking about scientific illustration. “I am not a linear thinker,” she says during a recent visit to her home studio. And though she’s primarily considered a printmaker, she is increasingly making only one version of her complicated images. “I don’t do many editions anymore,” she says.
Pictures such as “Celestial Ocean IV,” a 22×30-inch piece done in India ink and pigment pencils on paper, are a swirl of tiny organisms and views of the vastness of space. “I look at a lot of Hubble photographs,” she says, “and all these microscopic organisms. It’s both the macro and micro.”
Like many artists, she hunkered down and worked during the first bleak years of the pandemic, expanding on the earlier biologically based imagery she was known for and expanding her use of interesting papers and processes. She hands a visitor a recent small print done on a fine Japanese paper, a little heavier than tissue; she has painstakingly cut around the irregular but broadly circular edge of the image, and will use her printmaking press and archival adhesive to fasten the picture — about the size of a 45 rpm record — to a heavier paper before framing it. “Japanese paper is the best,” she says. “It soaks up all the ink.”
Speaking of ink, she’s become enamored of India ink for painting ever-more-intricate layers onto her prints. “The India ink I use has very concentrated pigments, which makes the appearance more vibrant than acrylic paint,” she says. “I also like the textural qualities they produce when dissolved with alcohol.”
This is her first solo show in Eugene in four years, though she regularly exhibits at Augen Gallery in Portland and had a recent solo show at the Seattle Art Museum Gallery.
Doyle grew up in New York and came to Eugene in 1990. In 1993, she got an MFA in printmaking from the University of Oregon and taught printmaking there for years as an adjunct professor. She has had residences at Playa Summer Lake and the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology in Oregon and at the Ucross and Brush Creek foundations in Wyoming.