Met acquires work by PrattMWP assistant professor


UTICA — A work by Serena Perrone, assistant professor of printmaking and drawing at PrattMWP College of Art and Design has recently been acquired by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

“A Volcano Pilgrim in Exchange for Fire,” is an “extraordinary” combination of 21 prints with gouache monotype, silkscreen and letterpress. Perrone’s volcanic imagery is primarily in deep blue tones surrounded by expressive colors achieved through painterly gouache monotype. 

Each gouache monotype is hand-painted, which creates variations within the edition that adds to the powerful and evocative volcano views. 

Perrone began contemplating the imagery of volcanoes for her work prior to learning about the young and gifted poet, Craig Arnold, whose disappearance near the mouth of a volcano that he was researching for his poetry stunned the world.

At the same time, it captivated Perrone, who began to research and read Arnold’s poetry. Perrone found subtleties in his poetry that shared many similar underlying themes and content which are integral to her approach to making art.

Perrone selected 20 active volcanoes in countries around the world that Arnold may have visited in his research. However, her interest was visual rather than a factual documentation of his path. The images combine a degree of accuracy but then freely blend from one to the next on the edges.

From the start to the end, each of the 20 prints matches up to form a continuous line, that when exhibited as a whole and mounted edge to edge, creates a 25-foot long panorama of volcano landscapes. 

Perrone noted “These images of active volcanoes located in Italy, Peru, Colombia, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and Japan are paired with fragments of text culled from the travel blog of the late poet Craig Arnold in the days leading up to his death in April of 2009 in Japan, while hiking volcanoes and conducting research for his next book of poetry which was to have been titled ‘An Exchange for Fire.’ Moving geographically from Italy to Japan as they move chronologically through time from his first blog post to his last, the 20 prints in this series chronicle the 20 days on which he wrote during his Japan expedition.

She added, “Thanks to the support of Cade Tompkins Projects, I am pleased to see this series of prints enter the permanent collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where I hope it will be enjoyed by generations to come and the words of the late poet Craig Arnold will continue to reach new audiences.”

Perrone joined PrattMWP College of Art and Design in 2016 and is currently a Visiting Critic at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Before coming to PrattMWP, she was based in Philadelphia and was the Visiting Assistant Professor of Printmaking at Kutztown University. She has also taught at Tyler School of Art, Swarthmore College, and the University of Georgia’s Studies Abroad Program in Cortona, Italy.

Her work has been exhibited widely, including exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the International Print Center New York.

Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Public Library, Yale University Art Gallery, Cleveland Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of Arts, Smith College Museum of Art, RISD Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Library of Congress.

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