She says her latest works is the result of an obsession with copper and a love for an abandoned form of photography (as artists have gravitated toward digital technology and away from the nineteenth-century photographic process) ... and quite a few trips down into the mines of Arizona.
For the last 8 years, she's been creating photogravures with copper plates -- a process that starts with converting a negative to a film positive and eventually ends when each plate is etched by hand. Each image took Wells around 30 hours to complete.
Wells says she decided to photograph copper mines because of her love for the quality of images copper photogravures produce. But it wasn't until she tried to gain access to mines that she ran into a few problems.
"I spent more time than I thought I would have trying to get access to a copper mine," she says. "I needed the core of my images to come from a mine that was actually 'happening now.'"
In "the copper state," Wells says she couldn't believe the difficulty in finding an active mine. Finally, she caught a break and was let into to a mine in Bagdad, Arizona.
"It's was when I got access to the mines that it became exciting and real," she says. "I had some very long days."
Wells says she hopes her exhibit can help viewers to understand the beauty and "sort of wonderment" that's involved in working with copper photogravures.
Five15 Arts is at 515 East Roosevelt St. in Phoenix. The gallery will be open tonight from 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m.. For more information, see the event invitation.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.