Dawn Petrill on Mixed Media and Coordinating a Multimedia Exhibition

By Dublin Arts Council Director of Engagement Janet Cooper

Dawn Petrill is a mixed media artist and member of the Central Ohio Branch of the National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW). She recently coordinated a 23-member group exhibition of the League’s work (open Sept. 21 – Oct. 29), consisting of individual and collaborative artwork projects from visual artists, writers and performing artists. I recently caught up with the artist in her Dublin, Ohio studio for a virtual conversation.

Janet: Can you tell us how you use mixed media and what it represents for the viewer? What are some of the most unusual items you’ve embedded?
Dawn: I use mixed media to draw the viewer into my work. My hope is that the viewer will see the piece in its entirety, then begin to scrutinize and find the embedded textures and objects that are embedded in the primer stage, then painted over as I create my work. Some of my favorite things to embed are pistachio nut shells, bottle caps and small plastic toys.

Janet: Who inspires your work?
Dawn: I am drawn to artists from many different areas — drawing, painting, illustration, even photography. There are so many people doing unique art. I am drawn to the passion they infuse in their work and this feeds into my own.

Janet: If you could use one word to describe a theme in your artwork, what would it be, and why?
Dawn: Experientialism. Is that a word? I strive to create an experience in my work and allow the viewer to enter it through their own perceptions.

Janet: How did the collaborative nature of the projects in this exhibition challenge you and the other NLAPW members artistically?
Dawn: The collaborations in this exhibition are created from women that are not just visual artists, but also writers and musicians. The challenge was to combine the talents to showcase their unique voices.

Janet: What’s the best thing about the greater Columbus art scene right now?
Dawn: I recently received a grant from the Greater Columbus Arts Council to create a new art project and am so thankful for the opportunity. The city of Columbus and its arts community are very nurturing. There is an amazing amount of great art, music, theater, dance and writing going on right now. The arts are truly alive in Columbus!

The Language of Creativity is a group exhibition by members of the Central Ohio Branch of the National League of American Pen Women. The exhibition is on view free of charge at Dublin Arts Council, 7125 Riverside Dr., in Dublin Sept. 21 through Oct. 29. Appointments can be scheduled at https://visitdublinartscouncil.as.me.

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