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Printspiration: Klari Reis

 As a die-hard fan of funky print and vibrant colors, I was immediately captivated by artist Klari Reis' innovative Petri Dish art. I don't quite recall the process that led me to her work, other than the fact that it started with the search term "neuroaesthetics" on Google.

Reis, an established painter, takes the time to hand-paint 1 reflective epoxy polymer petri dish (her newest medium) for every day of 2013, a continuation of her 2009 project. With her critical eye for detail, Reis creates perfection with each dish. The eye has a path to follow, no matter how convoluted, and all the colors are absolutely necessary to the personality of the painting. There is no excess in her work, nor is any part of it lacking. 

Laud aside, I was drawn to her work because I don't like floral prints, as a general rule. I'll make the exception for the occasional bolt of floral lace, or a more faded print, but I find the concept to be tired and played out each spring. I also have really bad pollen allergies, so I don't have a loving relationship with flowers anyway. 
The specific colors used to paint the dishes are all bright and playful. I get the sense of freedom, excitement, and relaxation, which is why I started thinking up ways to re-invent the spring print, so to speak. Honestly, the only reason we wear florals is to announce the arrival of spring, but pretty much everyone knows that. I want to create something that doesn't say "it's spring!" but rather says, "I'm free!" 

I've personally played it safe when it came to art: symmetry was always key for me. I figured that even if the workmanship was horrible, no one would feel anything worse than indifference. As I started working with 3-D objects, however, I learned that as I wasn't yet skilled enough to control everything, I sometimes had to live with the "imperfections." Having recently made a fabric print (courtesy of Spoonflower), I looked for the best way to make it symmetrical, ideal density of the print, size, etc. It's all very...perfect. And while that's not a bad thing, the asymmetry in these paintings has to make me think about the best way to tesselate them, stack them, block them. The process is made harder by the simple fact that they are circular. And even if I never make a Reis-inspired print, it does make for a challenging mental exercise, trying to see things not as they are, but how they could be.

P.S. While you're here, feel free to check out her main site here, where you'll also find show dates and location, and her 2009 blog where she posted 99 stunningly hand-painted apothecary bottles.