Northern Print Plate Prep

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From the end of May to the beginning of June, I enjoyed working at Northern Print in Newcastle upon Tyne. The studio, with a full suite of printmaking facilities awards a residency prize at each Biennale. I was fulfilling 2014’s prize and was lucky to overlap with 2016’s awardee Lisa Andrén. Above, testing three copper plates at 100% black for the newest edition. Below, the ferric chloride corner:

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Powdered pigment for ink mixing:

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Aquatinted plates, clean and ready:

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A caged proof:

Finding the time:

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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

Orange is the new studio color.

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I haven’t yet had time to dedicate a post to the new press, a fiery orange Takach with a 36″ x 48″ press bed. In the meantime, here’s a little still life with some of the more complex möbius models that are accumulating on the frame. The figure in the foreground is a torus of 12 möbius strips designed by Rick Russ. Behind it, a double möbius with linked circular openings designed by Furquan.

Copper and Wood: Roi Partridge and Richard Wagener

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Two California printmakers with lifetime links to the Sierra Nevada are currently on view at Mills College. The landscape prints of Roi Partridge (1888-1984) and Richard Wagener (1944-) are sculptural, full of movement, majestic—yet intimate in size. They have both built their imagery though an accumulation of lines. Partridge has etched his deeply into copper. They appear as rich threads of black ink, fuzzy on the paper and raised. The trunks of his trees twist and curl like spirit woods from Arthur Rackham’s golden age Grimm’s fairy tales. Wagener, on the other hand, is composing with a negative line—a precise, white removal of hard wood from an engraved block. His images are solid and iconic. They also show movement, but it seems frozen and rigid as if there is not a breath of wind and the twists of trunks and thrusts of mountains are sculpted from the turbulence of an earlier time. The work of both men makes one want to make a solitary pilgrimage in appreciation of California’s natural wonders.

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What: Copper and Wood: Roi Partridge and Richard Wagener, 100 Years of Printmaking
Where: Mills College, Olin Library
When: January 25 – March 13, 2015
Ambiance: tiny, black and white library windows into California’s greatest spaces

Emma Hunter: Solve et Coagula

A series of cyanotypes that has stayed with me since seeing them for the first time at the International Print Biennale this summer, Emma Hunter‘s hauntingly beautiful echoes of biomedical imagery, Solve et Coagula, are everything a print portfolio should be.

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The series, part of Stream, a larger collaboration with cardiovascular magnetic resonance reader, Dr Philip Kilner, captures the movement of blood through the human heart in ghostly white strokes in a deep blue ocean-like environment. The images show only the movement of fluid, but the flow shows the boundaries of the developing muscles that are propelling and directing the continuation of life.

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With this project, the UK-based artist, “[invites] audiences to make visual connections between our inner and outer landscapes; the micro and macro, and to consider the biomedical and ecological implications of these connections.”

What: Solve et Coagula
Where: on display at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London
When: permanently
Ambiance: like images of galaxies, complex structures made visible by light and movement

Women in the Art World

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Recently, I’ve noticed several articles about women in the art world circling and resurfacing on the internet. Rachel Stephens, one of the gallery directors at Wally Workman, where I will have a solo show in November, just commented on this series of interviews from artnet published last Tuesday. Wally Workman Gallery was established in 1980 and is woman-owned and directed. An outlier statistically, 67% of the gallery artists are women.

Also this week, I heard from Erin Holscher Almazan, who has curated a two-woman show featuring my work and figurative prints from Carrie Lingscheit which will be open at Gallery 249 in Dayton, Ohio through October 18. She will be meeting a colleague’s “Art and Feminism” class in the gallery for a discussion of the work and asked that I answer a few questions. Since the request and format were so similar to the artnet piece, I thought I would share my thoughts here as well.

What is the significance and relevance of women’s experiences within a patriarchal art world (woman as subject and image maker; domestic space; children) in your work?

I am definitely aware of feminist critiques of the art world (specifically, what I would consider the top 1% of the art world about which so much is published). Many statistics have illustrated the underrepresentation of women as heads of museums and the subjects of solo museum shows, and financially, have shown that the work of women has not approached the highest limits at auction sales. I support the efforts of the people taking action to make the high-end art world a more equal playing field. I think it should be. However, at the moment, I do not live in that world and neither does my work. I am inclined to think that the affordable art world (and prints, even by well-known artists, are often relatively affordable) is a more egalitarian place in every way.

I think that the two most important things for an artist to have are 1) a clear voice and message and 2) the ability to find the audience for that message. It also matters whether or not one needs to be able to make money from one’s art to continue making it. If the answer is yes, then it is even more important that 1 and 2 align. Happily, there is far more to the art world than just the most exclusive New York galleries or auctions by Sotheby’s (though it is still fun to read about them and ogle both the art and the price tags). People appreciate art of many different genres in many different venues. In this larger art world, I am constantly trying to find, maintain, and grow the connection between my voice and the people who respond to it.

Women have consistently been a subject of my work for the last six years. I think there are two main reasons for this: 1) The overall focus of my work is the study of identity. My print projects often deal with this theme, and because I am female, this is a huge part of my own identity and something I wish to explore. 2) I grew up in a family of all sisters. They say that writers should write what they know, and well, I know what it is like to grow up as a girl, and have witnessed closely other girls growing up as girls. With most of the figurative and narrative prints, I am telling stories and showing emotions that I have seen and felt myself.

Does there seem to be a renewed interest in printmaking fueled by women printmakers?

I do know that there are a lot of women printmakers. The majority of the artists in residence at Kala (the facility in which I work) are women. I also think that there is a flourishing interest in printmaking at the moment, so it follows that women are a big part of that flourishing. But from my point of view, this has not been so much a gendered renaissance as a celebration of print in a community that is, in my experience, a very sharing, open, and supportive group of people. I love printmakers. And I have found that printmakers who are men are often of this same ilk. I like that printmakers often operate in groups and collectives, even while working on solitary projects. This environment is conducive to impromptu critiques and shared experimentation with new materials or techniques. There is often a lot of community feeling in a printshop.

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David Lance Goines and Friends at the Hillside Club

Seven Berkeley artists (of which I am pleased to be one) will be exhibiting and selling work this weekend at the Hillside Club. It’s a cohesive group of printmakers with shared representational tendencies and a subtle touch with color. Come on over this beautiful weekend to see stunning pieces from some iconic Berkeley artists!  Forty percent of the proceeds to benefit the Hillside Club.

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Berkeley Horticultural Poster by David Lance Goines.

What: David Lance Goines and Friends Hillside Club Benefit Art Sale
Where: 2286 Cedar St., Berkeley CA
When: November 9th 10am-5pm, November 10th 10am-3pm
Ambiance: the Arts and Crafts ballroom – rich wood, rich woodcuts

IPCNY: New Prints/New Narratives

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New Prints/New Narratives selected by Andrew Raftery opens tonight at International Print Center New York. The center is showing 50 printmedia projects, including my diptych, Girl and Garland I and II. I cherish the mission of this organization, and am pleased to finally be a part of one of its shows.

Here are two more prints from this show that I particularly love: On the left is Yuji Hiratsuka’s Wings, which is the richest color intaglio I’ve seen in a long time. On the right, a still from Lynn Peterfreund’s Storm in a Teacup, a short film made up of 124 unique monotypes.

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Also on view is this collection of ten photopolymer/monotypes, The Road Traveled by friend and fellow Kala artist in residence, Jenny Robinson. Printing next to Jenny is always a treat, and I’m looking forward to learning a lot from her at an upcoming residency in Nevada City at the end of the month!

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It looks like the curatorial essay has yet to go up on the IPCNY website, but here is a small blurb from Raftery: This exhibition explores visual narrative and the powerful presence it has had in printmaking since its origins. The prints shown here reinvent this tradition for contemporary viewers, and were selected through careful observation of specific details and then arranged into narrative categories such as direct address, layered narrative, aftermath, layered time, and implied communication.

What: New Prints / New Narratives
Where: IPCNY, 508 West 26th Street, New York
When: June 13 – August 9, 2013
Ambiance: from inky presses country-wide to white walls, vinyl letters, New York