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Marcus native Grage to exhibit art at Library, Marcus Fair

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Marcus Public Library and PEO Chapter FM of Marcus are sponsoring an artists' exhibition and artists reception featuring the Horse Portraits of Jessica Grage, at the Marcus Public Library, 106 North Locust Street, on Friday August 10, from 2:30 p.m to 5 p.m. Jessica's series of horse portraits will be on display at the Marcus Public Library from Aug. 1 through Aug. 10.

The portraits are the first in a series Jessica is doing on horses, and they are more than "just" photos. There is quite a process involved in producing the final work of art.

The process begins with a photo, of course, but that's only the beginning. Jessica uses a 35 mm camera to take her photos, then develops the film herself and prints large negatives with which to work, using the large negatives to print "gum bichromate" prints.

This portrait, "Broodmares," is one of the Jessica Grage originals which will be on display at the Marcus Public Library and Marcus Fair in August.
Mixing watercolors with photography chemcals, Jessica paints that mixture onto canvas, then dries the canvas and places the large negative onto it. She then places the negative under glass, and exposes the image in the sun.

The final image appears when she washes the chemicals out in water. Several of her images have multiple layers of color, adding unique color interactions and interest to the images. She works with a variety of colors: browns, indigo, purples, pinks and yellows, and the results have to be seen to be believed (and appreciated).

Jessica Grage was raised on a farm south of Marcus.

She took several art classes while attending Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn high school, and after her graduation in 2003, she attended the University of South Dakota. While studying at USD, Grage exhibited a horse photograph in the Stillwell Art Exhibit, earning an honorable mention, and she also displayed several pieces in a Photography Six Exhibition.

Her thesis exhibition for her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, "Washed Away," featured her gum bichromate images of frost on trees, and she earned her BFA degree, with an emphasis in Photography, a Spanish minor, and a teaching certificate, in May of 2008.

Grage taught 7th grade and high school art in the Elk Point - Jefferson, S.D. school district from 2008-2011, and while teaching she enrolled in two Masters photography classes at the University of South Dakota and began working on gum bichromate prints featuring horses. She displayed these horse portraits at The Art House in Yankton, South Dakota in 2010.

Grage currently works with her family on their cattle and horse ranch near Gregory, South Dakota, and there she captures images of the ranch horses and works on her gum bichromate prints. She has been working to capture different portraits of ranch horses, and will continue capturing more portraits of horses, including different horse gear like bridles, bits and saddles, as well as some other poses.

Jessica's Horse Portrait Series series will also be displayed during the Marcus Fair at the former Mount Pleasant Church, located on the east side of the fairgrounds.Times for this display from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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