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Herman Melville’s classic novel “Moby Dick” has been brought to life by a Dry Ridge artist.
Fourteen pieces of art by Kathleen Piercefield, a printmaker and painter, is being shown in the exhibit, Moby Dick: Heart of the Sea, at the Rockford Art Museum in Rockford, Ill.
She is joined in the exhibit, which runs through July 5, by two other artists whose work was inspired by the book.
“It was tremendously exciting,” Piercefield said about the show’s opening. “I got a lot of positive feedback. The show was hung beautifully and I was pleased with the appearance of everything. I got to meet a lot of the museums’ patrons and they were interested to know something about the processes that I use.”
Piercefield’s work includes etchings, collagraphs and monotypes inspired by the novel’s cast of characters, as well as a mixed media map of the ship Pequod’s voyage.
“It basically results in an image that’s one of a kind,” she said. “The way the ink is applied and wiped off results in a different image each time. It sort of paralleled Melville’s writing because his style of writing is kind of layered.”
Piercefield grew up in Illinois and studied art at Murray State University, where she met her husband John.
The couple moved to Grant County in 1973 and began raising a family of four.
During her years as a stay-at-home mom, Piercefield used her kitchen table as her art studio. She exhibited work in local venues and gave private art instruction to children and adults.
Piercefield was a founding member of the Eagle Creek Arts Council, a peer-support network for visual artists in the community that later merged with another group to form Community Enrichment Through the Arts (CETA).
In 1999, she decided to continue her education by studying printmaking at Northern Kentucky University, where she received her bachelor of fine arts degree.
While at NKU, Piercefield took a class called “Moby Dick and the Arts” that started her desire to explore Melville’s novel visually.
“Melville’s novel is so rich,” Piercefield said. “It has so much in it. I knew I’d have a lot more to work from that would take me way beyond the course I was taking. I knew it could lead to a sustained body of work. I’ve been doing it ever since.”
In 2007, four of her prints were exhibited at the Mixed Magic Theater in Pawtucket, R.I., in conjunction with the play “Moby Dick: Then and Now.”
Several of her pieces also have been reproduced for publications, including an etching on the cover of the book “Melville and Women.”
Putting aside the kitchen table, Piercefield now has her own small etching press at her house.
To learn more about Piercefield, go to www.kpiercefield.com.