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Inside the Artist's Studio: Margaret Chiarelli

by Sabrina Garber

Margaret moved up from intern to printer in a snap after nailing every project we could possibly throw at her. An indispensable member of our team, Margaret is also an extraordinary artist, concentrating on abstract and detailed imagery. You can check out her work online or if you’re in Boston, her prints are currently on exhibit at Aviary (thru June) and Vee Vee (thru July). We asked Margaret if she could tell us more about her creative process and artwork.

Do you have a favorite piece of work or project of yours?
I'm excited about my drawing series called "These Decisions Can Wait" (image above is #3 in the series). I started working on it a couple of years ago when I was spinning my wheels and placing too much emphasis on the intellectual concept of my work. I decided to do an exercise where I'd just mindlessly draw lines to get something on paper. It was meant to be a casual, pressure-free exercise but it ended up having a strong significance for me as an expression of physicality. This was when I started working with abstract imagery and I've felt liberated working this way since.

Your drawings demonstrate a proclivity for detail. Where do you think this comes from? Do you try to sketch these out in some way or just dive in?
I'm drawn to tediously repetitive processes. The big picture overwhelms me but a methodical process where small elements make up the whole feels natural. It's always interesting to take a step back after having worked for a while and see what qualities have emerged from the drawing without having noticed because I've just been drawing lines with tunnel vision. Sometimes I make a rough sketch if I want a drawing to contain a specific shape but for the most part they're pretty organic and spontaneous in nature.

(image: Margaret & Zoárd at their exhibit opening; Paramecium Forever Figure from the series "I'm Not Here" by Margaret Chiarelli)

Tell us a little bit about your current exhibit with Zoárd Wells Tyeklár.
Zoárd is a friend of mine and another printmaker. The idea of planning a show together has been on our minds for a while and we were excited when an opening came up at Aviary. As part of the show, I debuted a new letterpress print series called "I'm Not Here." I'd been working in black and white for a while and thought it would be interesting to break away from this. Rather than using color I wanted to rely on the impression that letterpress leaves in the paper to create forms. I had an idea of only seeing the forms up close and the prints just looking like blank paper from a distance. They end up having this quality that wavers between quiet peacefulness and eeriness.

What are five items you cannot live without?
1) Motivational work ethic post-its by my desk! (e.g., "More doing, less thinking")
2) A fluffy sock I've cut fingers holes into and use as a glove to decrease friction when I draw long lines
3) My glasses! I'd go cross-eyed without them
4) Not an item, per se, but I could not live without Artist and Craftsman in Central Square. It's my go to for every art supply need
5) My assistant (cat) Foot Foot who tries to sleep on the paper while I'm drawing

 

 

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