Ginna Dowling makes biographical artwork. It tells the story of her heritage and life experiences, which she believes were necessary to make the commitment to be an artist. "I lived my entire life surrounded by the arts," says Dowling. Included in her lineage are poets, musicians, sculptors, and visual artists including her mother Polly Hammet and aunt Virginia Cobb, both nationally recognized and published artists. "My family influenced me more than anything or anyone else. Brushes soaking in containers of water, portfolios propped against the wall, mockups and layouts scattered on the surfaces of tables, and the smell of damp clay were such a normal part of my youth that it never dawned on me how unusual this was to most people."
Dowling initially chose to take a different career path rather than measure her talent against such a gifted family. She established a successful career in journalism, advertising, and marketing. But, after changes in her family life, she felt a driving force to return to the world of art that she found to be natural and comfortable. "I found solace and healing in the arts. Art and creativity were the processes that enabled me to examine my life, reconnect with my identity, and engage in personal growth."
The artwork in this exhibit tells the stories of Dowling's life experiences from a printmaker's perspective. It is her story told in layers through artwork made over the last decade. Dowling explains, "Printmaking is an art of layering and unpredictability. The diversity of printmaking allows for a process of layering transparency and form, from subtle to strong, which represents a shifting perception, depth, and variation of meaning. The hard edges and repetition of relief print and serigraphy provide a sharp contrast within this framework."
"The layers in this exhibit are both tangible and intangible," Dowling continues. "They represent structure, reality, and the physicality of the world: literally and figuratively. They represent memory and time – not in a straight timeline, but one that overlaps folds, loops, touches and stakes. These layers represent all you cannot see: thought, emotion, whispers, and echoes. The forms that create them, with infusions of light and shadow, bring visible integrated meaning that transcends flat surfaces. Depth is created, adding context and content not otherwise obtainable. Depth within vision brings depth within meaning. It adds context and content not otherwise obtainable. The layers I print are a response to the way I view the world. I am a product of layers; my experiences are in layers; I think in layers."
A native of Oklahoma City who resides in Norman, Dowling is the fifth Oklahoma-woman artist in three consecutive generations. She has studied and worked with numerous nationally recognized artists including Ron Pokrasso, Joe Ramiro Garcia, Sara Schneckloth, Katherine Polk, among others. Dowling earned a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Oklahoma and teaches adults and children at her private studio, INK DROP PRESS. She has worked independently and in public schools with children in Norman since 1995.