NORMAN — Ginna Dowling hasn’t always been a professional artist, but when her life turned upside down she turned to creativity to provide her solace.
Now the Norman resident and former communications professional turned printmaker is exhibiting her work at the Oklahoma State Capitol East Gallery through June 23.
“I was so fortunate I had do-overs, I could reinvent myself and had the support of friends and family,” she said about becoming a professional artist.
Dowling grew up in a creative household and was continually surrounded by the arts, including works by her mother Polly Hammet and aunt Virginia Cobb, both nationally recognized artists. When Dowling left home, she felt a need to define herself outside of art and received a bachelor’s in journalism and a master’s in public relations and professional writing.
A change in her family life prompted Dowling back to art, where she rediscovered printmaking. She described the process as a release and spontaneous.
“It just happened and everything was very biographical,” she said. “It was so powerful that I just did my art for me for awhile.”
At this point in her life, Dowling decided it would be “criminal” for her to not pursue her artistic talents. She returned to school at the University of Oklahoma where she recently received a Master of Fine Arts.
The work on display at the Capitol, titled “A Printmaker’s Perspective: A Life Told in Layers,” represents a decade of Dowling’s work including monotypes and woodcuts.
Dowling hopes viewers of her capitol exhibit learn to appreciate printmaking a little more from viewing her work.
“They are one of a kinds and it is a form of art that’s as exciting for even non-artists as something like painting,” she said. “And anybody can do it, you really don’t have to have a press.”
Oklahoma Arts Council Curator of Education and Capitol Galleries Alyson Atchison said it’s Dowling’s emphasis on arts education that makes her work so strong.
“She takes risks with her media and stretches boundaries for printmaking. Most of all, she presents her work in an educational way,” Atchison said. “Here, she has included the carved wood blocks from which she printed some of the works in the show. The audience is getting to see the process of printmaking and the steps involved. I know many have learned something new about printmaking from this show.”
With this idea in mind, Dowling is currently working on developing art classes for adults and children at her private studio, Ink Drop Press. In the future, she hopes to be able to create an arts recreational center where youth can participate in a variety of after-school arts activities.
For more information on Dowling visit ginnadowling.com.
Dowling’s work is on display at the Oklahoma State Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., in the East Gallery, located on the Capitol’s first floor, through June 23. The exhibit is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends.