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Alumnus earns major printmaking honor

April 21, 2015

Lucas Hearne Lucas Hearne '10 is one of 11 from a worldwide pool of artists to be recognized for printmaking. (Photo by Casey Kelly of the University of Rhode Island’s The Good 5 Cent Cigar.)

A sculptor sculpts, a printmaker prints. Through his love of art and fearlessness of form, Lucas Hearne '10 has found a way to bridge the gap between those second and third dimensions.

Hearne's most recent work, sculpted 3-D forms made from woodcuts of two-dimensional prints, has set him apart to join a field of 11 finalists selected from a pool of 460 artists worldwide to receive recognition from The Print Center in Philadelphia. This is the center's 89th annual competition, and the award is a major honor for Hearne, who said it's his first accolade outside of school.

"It's fulfilling, and it motivated me to be that much more serious with my work. Since the award, I've been very productive in the studio and also more thorough with my documentation and photographs of my work in progress," he said.

Hearne came to make these sculpture/print hybrids during a printmaking class, when he was faced with a challenge that had come to seem insurmountable. When given an assignment to come up with an image that meant something to him to reproduce via the printmaking process, Hearne felt frustrated with picture-making after what had been a long period of sculptural thinking. His creative workaround was to devise a process of making prints in order to make sculptures.

Photo of Lucas Hearne's work by Casey Kelly of the University of Rhode Island’s The Good 5 Cent Cigar.The process Hearne devised begins with deciding which object he'd like to create, making it quickly out of a model composed of blank paper. From there, he takes it apart again, and is left with a blueprint of tiles.

"That's where the wood comes in," he said. He draws out the lines and patterns in Douglas fir onto paper, preparing them by bringing out the texture of the wood with a wire brush, before inking the press and replicating those wood-patterned tiles. "It's a laborious process and a little challenging," he said. "I need to make sure all the grains on all of the surfaces match up."

Once Hearne has made his prints, he then can assemble the objects. While each can stand on its own, he said units can be modular, building upon one another and replicating. The small sculptures are "fundamental representations of joinery," he said, and harkening to his maker mindset, he's working on building recognizable objects next to take the project to the next level.

Hearne, of Wakefield, transferred to the University of Rhode Island after earning his associate degree in General Studies at the Community College of Rhode Island. He said that, while he's always had an interest in art, drawing from an early age, CCRI was where he truly began to consider the possibility of making his passion his profession.

It was at CCRI that Hearne learned the fundamentals of art and art history, and began to become comfortable with talking about his own work and critiquing others. He also credits the college's pottery class with giving him a chance to blend together the mechanics of material manipulation and the elegance of the line drawing.

"It's very easy to get your idea off the tip of a pencil onto paper," he said. "The obstacle in sculpture is you have to work with a material. It didn't click with me until I was working with clay that I could manipulate my material to create as easily as with a pencil, and so that opened up the sculptural world for me. Then, I stated working with wood and other materials I was familiar with."

Sculpture isn't the only place where Hearne has to piece things together; he has gotten quite good at balancing and structuring his time, too, as a full-time employee of the Mews Tavern in Wakefield. "It's been tough to juggle being a full-time student and working full time, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel," he said, noting that he's set to graduate from URI this spring.

Hearne's work for the Print Center's exhibition is viewable online. Locally, he will be exhibiting with 20 students from his program in a group show at the Warwick Museum of Art, 3259 Post Road, through May 1.

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Last Updated: 5/23/17