Elliptical Thinking at Wally Workman

Please join us in Austin, Texas for the opening of Elliptical Thinking. All new work from the past two years, the show includes eight large scale color wheel compositions, several diptych Conversations, and prints from the Fascinators series of allegorical portraits. To read more about the work and the thinking behind each piece, the interior of the show catalog can be downloaded in pdf format here. Wally, Rachel, and I look forward to seeing you in the gallery!

What: Elliptical Thinking (Part II)
Where: Wally Workman Gallery, Austin, TX
When: October 7-28, Artist Talk: Oct 5th @ 6pm, Opening: Oct 7 @ 6pm
Ambiance: 179 panels and all the spaces between them

11e Biennale de Gravure: Dérive(s)

The 11th Biennale de Gravure opens this Friday at La Boverie in Liège, Belgium. The theme of the exhibition cycle is “Dérive(s)” or “Drift(s),” which references the “Dérivation” canal that meets the Meuse river to form the peninsula on which the museum is located. While researching the concept/translation, I was seduced by an extension of the word put forth by Guy Debord describing “a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances” in which you allow yourself to “drift” (usually through an urban landscape) without a planned destination. It is a way of discovering the world often used while traveling, moving to a new place, or following toddlers all of which I have enjoyed doing in the past two years.

While this research impacted choices for color wheels I was painting late summer of last year (particularly Carolina Color Wheels: Drift), the prints in this show are several portraits from the Fascinators series (2016) as well as selections from Lonely Hearts (2014) – both of which take on “drift” from a more psychological angle.

Here is a complete list of my fellow printmakers whose work will be on view during the biennial. The opening and ceremony will take place Friday March 17th at 7pm.

What: 11e Biennale de Gravure: Dérive(s)
Where: La Boverie, Liège, Belgium
When: March 17 – May 14, 2017
Ambiance: This building makes me want to check a coat and open a journal.

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Elliptical Thinking

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Elliptical Thinking opened this Saturday at Rockport Center for the Arts with an artist talk, opening reception, and the official beginning of a six week residency. Taylor Hendrix, director of visual arts, led the question/answer style talk beginning with a poem by Wendell Berry:

Traveling at Home.

Even in a country you know by heart
it’s hard to go the same way twice.
The life of the going changes.
The chances change and make a new way.
Any tree or stone or bird
can be the bud of a new direction. The
natural correction is to make intent
of accident. To get back before dark
is the art of going.

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We used the poem to inspire thoughts about repetitive practices and making room for chance in the art process. On view are several new color wheel sets created this year in North Carolina and the “sketchbucket” models suspended in a cascade near the opening of the garden gallery. I will be demonstrating the printing process for the next few weeks here on the Art Center’s press, a custom model donated by the well-known Rockport native artist Al Barnes.

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What: Elliptical Thinking – residency and exhibition
Where: Rockport Center for the Arts, Rockport, Texas
When: October 15 – November 19, 2016
Ambiance: coastal accumulation of consideration and repetition

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Under Pressure at Rochester Contemporary

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Sponsored by the Print Club of Rochester, Under Pressure opened this weekend at Rochester Contemporary. Scale, in its full spectrum, was a choice made apparent by the collection of work, from Heather Swenson’s card-sized screenprint series to Jenny Robinson’s larger architectural intaglios. (below)

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Limited palette also played a strong role in the overall feel of the exhibition. Heather’s collections of in-progress inquiries are fresh and conscientiously optimistic. I’ve been in love with her work since jurying the club’s Echoes of the Past show this past spring. Here are the first 35 cards in her year-long weekly-editioned series The Tiny Print Project with close-ups of week 12 and week 29 (my personal favorite). The space left open on the bottom shelf will allow her to add the three prints she’ll create during the weeks the exhibition is on view:

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Heather’s work manages to be clear-eyed and confusing, familiar and foreign at the same time. Every one of her pieces seems to be a short story prompt or at least an invitation to daydream. In week 29, I imagine a tiny occupant in each of these aquarium-like balconies and a small stairwell in between, the two inhabitants meeting there sometimes to take refuge in the windowless retreat. Perhaps each only ever looks out of his or her one designated window and describes the view to the other in that enclosed space between. It also looks a bit like a Lego piece, like a giant child could pick it up and click it into place. Here’s an angled view of one of her larger screenprints:

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My own palette is not dissimilar from Heather’s. We both gravitate towards teals and grays, fresh sands, and a guarded, but intentional use of vibrant accents. Moderation in all things – including moderation. For this installation, I chose two Carolina Color Wheels that would hang well with a new series of portraits from 2016, Fascinators, a portfolio of girls wearing paradoxical or mathematical topographic shapes as hats.

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I’ve written a bit about the ongoing Color Wheels series here. While the process is still the same, the most recent abstract panel groupings have focused more intentionally on trying to describe consciousness, emergentism, and linked thought-related processes. Similarly, the Möbius strip hats worn by the girls in the portrait series are also looking at and attempting to visually solidify thought processes.

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Overall, four types of printmaking are highlighted in this show. April Vollmer‘s work brings Western iconography to hieroglyphic narrative woodcut scrolls. Jenny Robinson‘s large-scale architectural intaglios combine collagraph with monoprint. Heather Swenson is showing several screenprinted still lifes inspired by collage. And finally, my Fascinators portraits are each combinations of woodcut and drypoint, while the Carolina Color Wheels mix media with drypoint on copper.

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What: Under Pressure: Redefining the Multiple
Where: Rochester Contemporary, Rochester NY
When: September 2 – 25, 2016
Ambiance: space in which conscientiously compressed areas of space breathe

Graphic Arts Workshop and Print Club of Rochester

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On view in the LAB space in conjunction with the Under Pressure show, a recent collaboration between Graphic Arts Workshop and the Print Club of Rochester presented a diverse group of prints in various techniques from the West and East Coast associations.

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Two of my favorite prints from the Graphic Arts Workshop happened also to be two of the smallest. Power Moiré by Anthony Ryan (above left) and Three of Spades by Mariko Jesse (above right) were both tiny prints floating in a clean expanse of paper frame. Ryan’s work pulls the viewer close and in, while Jesse’s card-like plate had a milkiness to it that made me want to pick it up off the paper.

From the Print Club of Rochester, I was drawn to two pieces for their chromatic cleanliness. Treasure Sun Set by Carol Aquilano is a color reduction woodcut at its boldest, with all the transparency and sticky-edged carving marks of relief as expressive medium, while Katherine Baca-Bielinis’s Philadelphia Charm gives an impressionistic glimpse of a column, an archway and the beginning of an ornate ceiling. It’s as if we are watching these forms develop and vanish as they pass in and out of view – that the viewer might even be necessary to their existence.

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Finally, a conceptual piece from Adam Werth, president of the Print Club of Rochester. The materials description on the information panel reads: non-variable data, inkjet, collage. It’s a bit of a troll piece as well since the portfolio format dictates that it must stay on top of the print stack for the creases not to flatten or warp the other prints. I currently have this work in my studio – a good reminder on several levels. The title: 😉.

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What: Graphic Arts Workshop and Print Club of Rochester Trade Portfolio
Where: Rochester Contemporary, Rochester NY
When: September 2 – 25, 2016
Ambiance: the unbound bounty of bi-coastal brotherhoods

Commedia at IPCNY

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Commedia is currently on view at International Print Center New York. Curated by Tomas Vu, artist and Artistic Director of the Leroy Neiman Center for Print Studies. Here is his curatorial statement:

The title of the show, Commedia, is the original title of Dante’s Divine Comedy….Dante’s embrace and elevation of humble materials, and the specificity and personality they created, are reflected in the works I have selected….As the show has come together, it has been wonderful to see the works start to speak to each other….I see conversations starting in one place and finishing in another, I see the categories blur and then come back into focus, and I am taken to the same place Dante transported me to: wandering between states, striving for ascension.

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My piece, The Inking Table, is a new addition to Place and Process. It is an image of daily work, artist and space carefully arranged. If I were to pick phrases from Vu’s summary, “embrace and elevation of humble materials” and “striving for ascension,” would be the shared sentiments behind this series.

Some of my favorite works from this show include Allison Bianco’s Leave Your Troubles Behind (top image), Todd Anderson’s Grinnell Glacier – The Last Glacier, and Kathy Aoki’s Makeup Myriorama (below). The latter also recently won Art in Print‘s Prix de Print, and I enjoyed reading about her process there.

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A personal anecdote: I fleetingly met Kathy Aoki last year at a Christmas party in San Francisco. As her hostess gift, she brought several boxes of Good & Plenty, which was enough to make me like her forever.

What: Commedia: New Prints 2015/Autumn
Where: International Print Center New York
When: November 19, 2015 – January 16, 2016
Ambiance: printmakers “wandering between states, striving for ascension

Facing History at the Victoria & Albert Museum

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Eleven of the Forty Fridas are currently on view at the V&A in London as part of the Facing History exhibit curated by Gill Saunders. The show displays 80 prints and photographs from the museum’s collection that “explore a variety of artists’ responses to the idea of portraiture over the last 20 years.”

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The Guardian review picks up on my abiding interest in games

Yet portraiture is also a masquerade, a game. Artists have been playing with poses ever since the Renaissance. Today Cindy Sherman does it, as does Ellen Heck, who in her coloured woodcuts gets her friends to pose as Frida Kahlo. They all become Frida for a day. But who is Frida? She herself joins in the game, posing as Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine, who now sports that unmistakable thick monobrow.

Portraiture, when you start enjoying its formality and its awkwardness, turns out to be an art of infinite possibility. This a pleasing glimpse of the past’s future.

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Gill Saunders, Senior Curator of Prints, writes more about her interest in the Fridas for this show in Art in Print. She will be giving a Lunchtime Lecture about Facing History on March 2, 2016. Many thanks to Jenny Robinson for taking these installation shots.

What: Facing History: Contemporary Portraiture
Where: Victoria & Albert Museum, London
When: July 27, 2015 – April 24, 2016
Ambiance: to steal the Guardian’s last line – a pleasing glimpse of the past’s future

Connections: Installation Shots


Now that the show is closed, here is a consolidated recap of some of the highlights: a virtual tour of the entire exhibition can be found here. You can click on the crosshairs to move from one location in the gallery to the next and move the cursor left and right to rotate the room.

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A review by Wayne Alan Brenner for the Austin Chronicle can be found here.

And a 230 page large-format book (also available as PDF) with essays from these and the two previous shows’ print projects and a complete catalog of editioned prints from the last six years of working at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, CA can be found here.

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I’d like to thank everyone who came out to both the opening and the artist talk, Wally and Rachel, the Casa Montessori kids for their willingness to get ink on their hands, and my sweet parents for letting me turn them temporarily into the shipping and storage branch of the studio.

Upcoming Events: February and March 2014

With Southern Graphics Council’s annual conference taking place in San Francisco this year, Groveland Gallery’s show in Minneapolis, and a three-day workshop in Santa Barbara, February and March are shaping up to be full of the social side of art life.

If you find yourself near one of these venues in the next two months, please stop by!

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Combination Woodcut and Drypoint Workshop
The Rusty Barn, Santa Barbara, CA
February 21-23

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Artist Talk at Carleton College
Northfield, MN
March 7th at 4pm, Boliou 161

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Opening reception for Girls, a two-person show with Duncan Hannah
Groveland Gallery, Minneapolis, MN
March 8th at 2pm

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Intaglio printmaking demo at Kala for the Oakland Museum
Kala Studio, Berkeley, CA
March 11th at 12pm

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Opening reception for Altered States, in conjunction with the SGC conference
ARC Gallery, San Francisco, CA
March 27th from 7-9pm

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Printmaking demo at Kala for the Southern Graphics Council Conference
Kala Studio, Berkeley, CA
March 28th at 12pm

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Altered States artist talks
ARC Gallery, San Francisco, CA
March 29th at 5-7pm

What: printmaking events galore
Where: California and Minnesota
When: February and March 2014
Ambiance: convocation of the last group of Americans to still have use for phone books