Krista Mezzadri hands of willows

In hands of willows, Krista Mezzadri’s monotype prints create a web of gestural, abstract patterns layered across multiple sheets of paper. Many of the pieces for this show were created as ghost prints, where images are transferred from leftover ink on the printing plate, creating ethereal, elusive marks on the translucent paper. “The compositional aspects of the layering process are spontaneous and can’t be replicated or considered, which amplifies the handmade irregularity of the prints,” she says. “The ghost printing then makes an even more irregular image, and layering those together is really interesting. Each piece is unique.”


Mezzadri typically works in black ink as it seeps effectively into the very thin paper, whereas colour ink would be too diffuse. For this show, however, Mezzadri has introduced a subtle, muted colour palette by layering dyed washi paper, creating softly shifting moods and tones throughout the collection: patterns fade into one another across the diaphanous layers of each composition, where the coloured paper creates faint cirrus clouds of green, blue or pink beneath the immutable black ink. “It was an interesting challenge because I hadn’t worked with colour before – the light paper I use doesn’t hold enough pigment in its surface when using coloured ink,” she says. “I wanted the use of colour to be harmonious with the other elements of the work. In the same way I seek an image that comes from layering translucent printed patterns, I sought a variable result by layering translucent planes of colour.”


The show’s title derives from a passage by American poet W. S. Merwin in his poem The Bird (1994). “I’m interested in why humans make patterns. We’ve been making them for millennia – why do we keep returning to it? It’s almost like we’re trying to represent nature in a very simple way,” says Mezzadri. “Making patterns is a way of connecting to nature, but also to the generations of humans that came before us that also made patterns. I think of it as a big web of connection. I then began thinking about willow trees and their universal beauty; you can sit under a willow and know that you are probably feeling the same way a human thousands of years ago felt when they too sat under a willow.”


Many of Mezzadri’s compositions feature triangular patterns that produce a strong sense of depth from the layers of paper. “Those motifs can almost look dimensional,” she says. “Viewers often approach these pieces and try to observe them from different angles. It’s interesting because I don’t really aim for that when I’m making them – it’s just how I like them to be. All I can do is do what I am drawn to do, and hope that people find connection with them.”