This project developed from a conversation between Phong Bui and myself about art in the United States since what has long been referred to as the mid-20th century Print Renaissance, and my belief in the critica impact of printmaking on artists work in other media.
Caledonia Currys introduction to printmaking was less than auspicious. Having taken classical painting lessons from the age of 12, she had long been delighted by her ability to render the world around her in subtle shifts of color and exacting shading. In a high school art class, when handed a lino block and gouge, Curry balked. Hard-lined, single-color forms? This must be the worst way to make art ever invented.
Recently, I had the pleasure of working with my friend Kyle Simon, who has started Farrington Press outside of Joshua Tree, California. The press is off-grid, meaning it functions on solar power, and the water and materials Kyle brings in strapped to his pickup truck.
In 2019, I was invited to create a workshop at the Noguchi Museum in connection to the exhibition Changing and Unchanging Things: Noguchi and Hasegawa in Postwar Japan. The show demonstrated (and I tried to demonstrate in my class) how printmaking deepens our understanding of objects that surround us, and their function in the environment.
When the Rosetta Stone was uncovered in the French-occupied port of el-Rashid in 1799, the first steps toward decipherment saw this ancient stele function as a printing matrix to transfer the text to paper, for distribution among scholars who would try to unravel the threads of meaning of ancient Egyptian writing. Today, the stone represents far more than a bilingual decree of an ancient king that helped to bridge us with the distant past (the hieroglyphic and demotic scripts of ancient Egypt were accompanied by the translation in Greek, the latter serving as the key to decoding the former).
The mask made it difficult to see his smile from ear to ear, but you could see it in Miguels eyes. Colorful large-scale prints covered all the tables at Brandywine Workshop and Archives (BWA) studio in South Philadelphia. The happiness and satisfaction of the completion of a successful project was hard to miss as he stared at the project he had just completed.
I used to know an artist who carried a small copper plate in her daily tote bag. It accumulated the scratches and marks made by other objects in her bag as they rubbed against each other with her bodys movement throughout the day.
Im drawn to the how a work is created versus the what. I am fascinated by time and its role in the process. What happens in between one decision and the next. Where does something begin and where does it end? Does it end?
Printmaking and capitalism: a marriage made in heaven yet a double-edged sword for many artists, emerging or seasoned.
I fell in love with prints at an early age: First as an admirer and later as a maker. As an adolescent I was exposed to gorgeous silkscreened Cuban movie billboards in my home country, Ecuador, at a time when book fairs were popular and Cuban artists were bringing their culture to South America. After I unexpectedly immigrated to the US as a young adult, and became an art student, I was immediately drawn to learning about the different printmaking processes and creating meaningful pieces about my culture that I had been forced to leave behind. This medium attracted me on many fronts.