Cynthia Back & Phyllis Trout

Thursday, September 3, 6-7 pm EST


Phyllis Trout, Deir ez Zor 820, watercolor monotype, 7” x 10”, 2018   

Join us for an opening reception webinar with Cynthia Back and Phyllis Trout. Cynthia and Phyllis will share and discuss their group exhibition which will be on view online from September 1 - 30, 2020.

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the

place for the first time.”


- T.S. Eliot - 

Phyllis Trout and Cynthia Back both find endless inspiration in approaching a narrow range of subjects.  Improvisation, responding to the image as it forms, revising and repeating, are the essence of their practices.


Cynthia lives in a wooded area, a narrow strip along a creek surrounded by homes and asphalt, an oasis of old growth oaks and beech.  She continually records these trees and the creek that meanders through, concerned with the growth and decay of her subjects. Within this concentrated focus there is infinite variation.  Also important is travel, which brings new vistas and habitat to explore. 


Carving wood to portray wood,  Cynthia makes reduction prints and black and white woodcuts.  She especially enjoys the layering and surprises that come with each new color printing.  Redrawing the image over and over, reacting to the process, she stops only when there is nothing left to carve.


Phyllis’s ritual of art practice is physically demanding and invigorating. She works through a subtractive and additive process: by wiping, scraping, and diluting the ink/paint, the images appear and disappear. She balances intention and accident while allowing spontaneous events to occur. She explores further and repeats a continuum of revision. Most recently she has been adding color in the printing process as well as painting on the monotypes with watercolors.

The "Bardo" series is titled for the transitional and liminal consciousness between awake and asleep, living and dying, and light and dark. 

Deir ez Zor is a large eastern city in Syria that is often photographed in the news because of the devastation. “Deir” in Arabic means monastery.  

Her work is nourished by her study of magnificent architectural spaces, particularly large public spaces of gathering and transition. Her process emerges from and reflects spaces archaeological in nature, where histories are revealed in the present moment and what is past and what is present isn’t so neatly separated.