"Confrontation" by Cynthie Fisher of Montana


Fisher Cynthie Confrontation
"Confrontation" by Cynthie Fisher of Montana

The Kentucky Artisan Center is exhibiting exceptional works of art by International artists working in the medium of scratchboard. Works by fifty-one members of the International Society of Scratchboard Art (ISSA), including artists at the Masters level, will be on display through July 31, 2019, at the Center. Artists selected hail from all over the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, Germany, New Zealand, China and Portugal. 

Awards presented during the opening reception include: Master Division: Best of Show to John Agnew, of Cincinnati, for “Insecurity”; Silver Award to Lori Dunn, of Ontario, Canada, for “The Release”; Bronze Award to Heather Lara, of California, for “Elusive 2” and an Award of Excellence went to Lorna Hannett, of British Columbia, for "Life Lines."

This exhibit showcases highly detailed and representational imagery with nature and animals as predominant subjects. Works are most often rendered in black and white, but the addition of colored inks give these works a full range of visual realism. 

Many of these works appear to be high-resolution photographs, fooling the observer upon first encounter.  The level of artistry in this exhibit is extraordinary, especially in the works by Master Level member artists.

Having received recent accolades in the fine art world, scratchboard is a two-dimensional medium that requires incredible skill and dedication. Each artwork is created by meticulously engraving into a board coated in white clay and then covered with ink. Line by line, the ink is removed with a sharp tool creating contrasting values and a high level of detail as the clay becomes exposed. This process has roots going back to the 1800's and is now making a comeback in graphic design and fine art. 

This exhibit also includes information by each artist as to why they chose certain subjects and why they use the medium of scratchboard. Cynthie Fisher, of Hamilton, Montana, states, “After taking 18 trips to Africa, elephants always figure highly on my list of subjects. I love their intelligence, family bonds and their occasional bursts of temper.”

Lori Dunn, of Norwood, Ontario, explains why she works in the scratchboard medium. 

“I particularly love scratchboard for the ability to focus on light and shadow, rather than color, as well as the unsurpassed level of detail that can be created using just the tip of the knife. To be able to deftly render and engrave every tiny detail of a wildlife subject is incredibly satisfying to me.” 

Open division awards were: Best of Show to Patricia Davis, of Colorado, for “Tom Palmore Says Miro had a Cockatoo”; Silver Award to Scott Krohn, of Minnesota, for “Diverse Beauty”; Bronze Award to Kathleen E. Dunn, of Washington, for “Piñata Northern Flicker” and Awards of Excellence went to Tracy Anderson, of Michigan, for “Found Objects,” to Amy Stauffer, of Pennsylvania, for “Tall, Dark & Handsome” and to Elena Kolotusha, of Australia, for “On the Lookout.” 

The International Society of Scratchboard Art, formed in 2011, is a non-profit society dedicated to promoting artistic professionalism and the medium of scratchboard to the world of fine art. ISSA now has over 200 members worldwide. Many members have been featured in some of the finest art museums and galleries, winning awards on a global scale. The Kentucky Artisan Center is pleased to showcase this International ISSA exhibition, offering visitors the only chance to observe a complete show solely dedicated to this unique medium. 

For more information on the International Exhibition of Scratchboard Art, contact Gwen Heffner at gwen.heffner@ky.gov or call 859-985-5448, ext. 230, or visit our Facebook page.

The Kentucky Artisan Center is located just off I-75 at Berea Exit 77. The Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and offers traveler services, shopping, gallery exhibits and Saturday artist demonstrations. The Artisan Café & Grill is open for breakfast and lunch from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Kentucky Artisan Center is an agency in the Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. For more information, visit kentuckyartisancenter.ky.gov

Photos, left to right: "Fishing on Stilts" by Sharon Lennox of British Columbia, Canada; "Life Lines" by Lorna Hannett, of British Columbia, Canada; "Ketchikan, Alaska" by Rudiger Nieck, of Berlin, Germany; "Whoo Goes There?" by Cathy Sheeter, of Colorado.