One of the many striking pieces in the newest exhibit at the Rose Art Museum is not a finished piece, but a stencil made by artist Howardena Pindell. In 1970, she began hole-punching cardstock to create stencils. She used to place these stencils over the canvas and spray paint hundreds of small circles onto it. Pindell would repeat this process until a painting was complete.

     The paint-splashed stencil, which was lent to the Rose Art Museum courtesy of Garth Greenan Gallery in New York and the artist herself, hangs equal to the other paintings on display — it is as important as any piece in Pindell’s portfolio. It is gratifying to be able to admire a finished piece of art in the same room as the tool that was used to make the painting. No matter one’s personal opinion on the pieces in the exhibit, being let in on the process demystifies the art.

     A finished piece of visual or literary art can seem almost godlike. Seeing the process behind a creation brings humanity back into the equation. Abstract art, in particular, more easily lends itself to interpretation than, say, realism. Whether or not one of Pindell’s pieces elicits a clear and immediate reaction, all of her art is human. The image of someone toiling over something they care about, stencil and canvas in Pindell’s case, is something to which everyone can relate.