Alum of the Month: Mary Anne Molcan

Mary Anne Molcan stands by her print press.

March 21, 2024 - 10:15am

For Mary Anne Molcan, having her lino-block print selected as part of the Boston Printmakers 75th Anniversary North American Print Biennial was an exciting moment. It was amplified when her piece Plexus was also featured in Artscope Magazine, which wrote a review of the artwork featured in the biennial.

“It was an absolute honour to have my work profiled in Boston by Artscope Magazine,” said Molcan who graduated from VIU in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts, major in Visual Arts and minor in Psychology.

The biennial features the contemporary prints of emerging and established authors from the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. Out of more than 1,800 submissions, only 121 were selected for the exhibit.

Molcan, who currently works as the Visitor Services Coordinator for the Nanaimo Art Gallery, said her education at VIU helped shape her artistic vision, which combines positive psychology and the intersection between the natural world and human values.

How does it feel to have your artwork profiled in Artscope Magazine?

The article in Artscope Magazine was a review of the Boston Printmakers 75th Anniversary North American Print Biennial. It was also exciting to have my artwork selected by juror, Elizabeth M. Rudy, Curator of Prints at the Harvard Art Museums, for the Print Biennial itself. Rudy stewards the collection of roughly 60,000 prints made in Europe and the Americas from the 15th century to the contemporary era.

The biennial was a highly competitive exhibition with more than 1,800 submissions from 653 artists. The 121 prints were chosen to represent a wide variety of styles and techniques used by today’s contemporary printmakers. Plexus was in good company, so to have my work chosen for the cover of the exhibition brochure and then written about in the review article tells me that my art elicited a response from viewers. As an artist, to elicit any type of response to an artwork is an honour!

What inspired your artwork, Plexus, and what was your creative process?

Plexus explores patterns found in the natural world conveyed through imagery alight with the intersection of line and colour. With this print edition, I was interested in elevating the unnoticed and undervalued, such as the beauty of a dandelion gone to seed. Plexus is an image of a complex structure containing a network of intricate connections. It celebrates the fragile and fragmented poetics of connection and sings with white light when the pieces come together.

Diverse and complex ecosystems exist in the natural world. Many human beings do not realize that everything we use affects the balance of our planet. Plexus celebrates connectivity and aims to create an awareness that our actions matter. 

Why did you choose VIU for your education? 

I started my education through the external Fine Arts degree program at Emily Carr University. I chose to move to VIU because the university offered me more choices. I could choose to minor in another area of interest and for me, that was psychology.

Tell us a bit about your experience at VIU and in your program.

I enjoyed the opportunity to take part in self-directed studies through the Visual Arts department. I could delve into a certain technique or processes to expand upon my interests. These explorations inspired both creativity and learning. 

What are you most proud of since completing your program at VIU? 

After I graduated, I gave myself some time to think about my art practice, what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it. I decided to focus on printmaking and began the research on how to set up my own home studio. I am proud that I accomplished these goals and can continue to grow and share my work with the public through exhibition opportunities both locally and internationally. I have exhibited in an International Exhibition in Connecticut, as well as Boston, Los Angeles, Nanaimo, Duncan, Courtney and Victoria.

I am involved in our community of Nanaimo through my work at the Nanaimo Art Gallery and as part of the Artists in the Schools program. I teach young children printmaking and that is also something to be proud of.

Can you share an experience at VIU that made an impact on your learning experience? 

Every department at VIU had an impact on my learning. The English department encouraged me to submit an essay for the essay contest, which won first place and can be read on VIU Space. The Psychology department encouraged my interest in positive psychology, which is now the driver behind my art practice. I attended the International Positive Psychology Conference in Montreal where the experience sparked an inquiry into ecopsychology for me. My art practice explores the intersection between the natural world and human values. The Visual Arts department encouraged me to find a place on the campus to exhibit some of my work. The library was so supportive of my colleague and me that they archived our exhibition Hard Wired into the digital intellectual and creative archive of VIU Space.

What’s next for you? 

Finding a balance between working, studio life and my well-being. I look forward to a creative future as new opportunities unfold. 

Tags: Alumni | Visual Arts | Our Alumni

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