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Behind the Scenes

Printmaker’s works on display at science center in Norwell

Works by Corinne D’Italia include  “San Bartolomeo.”

Corinne D’Italia

Works by Corinne D’Italia include “San Bartolomeo.”

Trained as a painter and calligrapher, South Shore artist Corinne D’Italia was drawn to “the unexpectedness” of printmaking 15 years ago. It’s an art form with special challenges, she said, and sometimes unanticipated rewards.

“It’s a very physical art form,” D’Italia said recently. “You work with a paper, you work with a plate. You have to think backwards. You have to have expectations of what you’re going to get, and it’s always a surprise. You only get one chance to put the paper on top and run it through the press, and then start all over again.”

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The unexpected may enhance the product, but not always.

“Sometimes you get stuff you had no idea was going to happen, and it’s wonderful,” she said. “Other times, the window panes will rattle. . . . It’s a recalcitrant art. For people who like to be in control, it teaches us humility.”

D’Italia’s one-woman show of 30 prints and one painting will be on display for a month at the Vine Hall Gallery of the South Shore Natural Science Center in Norwell starting Wednesday. An opening reception will take place on Oct. 18, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Her work has appeared previously in the gallery’s group shows. “She was a prospect” for a show, said Chris Jacobs, the science center’s event coordinator. “We saw her work and thought it was beautiful.”

“Midnight Gull Frenzy”

Corinne D’Italia

“Midnight Gull Frenzy”

The prints on display in her show are a size D’Italia calls “quarter sheets” (a reference to the size of standard art paper), about 11 by 14 inches. They are matted in white and framed by the artist herself.

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Many of the works falls into four “muntins” series. Muntins are the strips of wood that hold the panes of glass in a window. D’Italia said these were inspired by particular windows with striking views she saw in Italy, O’Brien Castle in Ireland, in Santa Fe, and other sites.

“Behind the windows are images, oceans and forests, mist and fires,” the artist said.

D’Italia, a Brookline native who describes herself as “born with a pencil in one hand and a paintbrush in the other,” said she was encouraged to pursue art by her mother, who was also an artist. D’Italia designed and taught “The Art of Calligraphy” class at various South Shore adult education programs and senior centers.

She is also a published writer whose art has graced the cover of a literary magazine that also published her short story. One of her prints was acquired by the Boston Public Library for its American Printmaking Collection.

Like other local printmakers, she began making prints at the South Shore Art Center in Cohasset (printmaker Esther Maschio of Scituate is one of the artists with whom she’s studied) and continues to make use of the art center’s printing press. A longtime South Shore resident, her work has appeared in many area shows.

Artists “keep lots of images,” D’Italia said. Images from a family visit to Naples inspired a print that offers a misty, watery view of the island, “Procida.” Also from Naples comes the image “San Bartolomeo,” a view through an the old stone archway showing a street with delicate lines to suggest clothes hung from lines. Her print “Midnight Gull Frenzy” is a coolly magical evocation of a midnight view over water that uses a Prussian blue she mixed to substitute for conventional blues. Shapely arched windows frame a series called “Gryphon,” named for the mythical creature with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion.

The show’s painting is a colorful acrylic titled “Persephone.” Online images of all the works in the show are available at the artist’s website, at mistytyler.blogspot.com.

The artist said her show’s apparently enigmatic title, “Misty Tyler Revealed,” makes use of a long-ago misunderstanding of her name. “Back in the mists of time,” she said, “when young women were addressed as ‘Miss,’ the office receptionist misheard ‘Miss D’Italia’ and called down the hallway, ‘Who on earth is Misty Tyler?’ ” The nickname, and the story, just stuck around.

Jacobs said the science center’s gallery shows artwork that fits in with its mission of natural science education. “We typically have art shows that reflect a natural theme” as well as providing a cultural opportunity for visitors, she said.

Last summer a juried show called “Beyond the Garden Gate” connected to the center’s annual garden tour fund-raiser. Upcoming shows will feature work by the South Shore Camera Club on the theme of “At the Water’s Edge,” and a traveling exhibit on Stellwagen Bank.

October is a busy month for area galleries. Among other offerings, the South Street Gallery in Hingham is showing works by favorite son Paul Arsenault through Oct. 28 (details at southstreetgallery.com. The gallery says Arsenault’s plein air paintings are notable for their strong color and unique perspective. Also, South Shore Art Center is offering a show of Zimbabwe stone sculpture through Nov. 3 (for details visit www.ssac.org).

Robert Knox can be reached at rc.knox2@gmail.com.

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