Tuesday, February 18, 2014
I am happy to announce that through the persistence of artist and collaborator Ria Vanden Eynde the Kali Print Edition has been accepted into the collection of KADOC. KADOC is the abbreviation for The Documentation and Research Center for Religion, Culture and Society; part of prestigious KU Leuven, (University of Leuven, located in Leuven, Belgium). The University, established in 1465, is considered the oldest University in Belgium and one of the top universities in Europe.
The Kali Edition was created as a collaboration between artists Ria Vanden Eynde (Belgium), Susan Shulman (Canada) and myself. The edition takes on the subject of the Hindu goddess Kali with each artist contributing six double sided prints that are housed in a presentation folio case.
A unique aspect of the collaboration is that none of us met in real life until the signing of the edition in NYC in the fall of 2011. For an entire year we communicated almost daily with the help of Skype video conference calls and sharing thoughts and images in our private Facebook group.
In fact the idea for a collaboration was born out of a Facebook thread of comments concerning goddess iconography and cultural differences. As a compliment to the work we were doing as a collective team we also hosted an international online artist call for works exploring the concept of the goddess Kali.
While travel and the Internet has brought the world closer, in many cases Kali became a mere broker in the West of commodities and services. At times she has been a New Age movie distortion or a symbol of feminist rage. Many times this cross cultural borrowing seems far removed from the mystery and paradox present in an archetype that is mother and goddess, yet also a symbol of destruction.
This successful call resulted in over 80 international artists contributing art in all media, sharing concepts and creative approaches to archetypes. A blog was launched to host the artist submissions. A compilation of the contributions were assembled into a DVD which has been shown in galleries worldwide. An archival copy of the Kali DVD is also with KADOC.
The Seeking Kali blog has become a forum for artists world wide and features work with archetype and myth based on their personal and cultural narratives. A second artist call examined cross cultural references to the Medusa myth.
Link to Kali Edition prints (scroll to bottom for a slideshow of each artist's prints)
Link to the Seeking Kali blog
The edition is also in the collection of The State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia.
Link to blog post on Susan Shulman's presentation to the library.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
Play Money - ©William Evertson 2010 - collage game box
I have several pieces in the Minnesota Center for Book Arts exhibit Fluxjob: Purging the World of Bourgeoisie Sickness Since 1963 which opened Friday, February 7th in Minneapolis, MN. The show which runs through July 6th is described on the MCBA website;
"In the 1960s, George Maciunas urged a small group of artists to purge the world of bourgeois sickness and dead art. The result was Fluxus, a non-movement that expanded the definitions of what art can be. Fluxjob is an exploration of contemporary artists who continue to create interdisciplinary anti-art that is ephemeral, inexpensive, and interactive. The exhibition is co-curated by MCBA Executive Director Jeff Rathermel and noted Fluxus artist, publisher and performer Keith Buchholz."I created a series of game boxes in 2009 and 2010 based on tic tac toe. Tic-tac-toe is most often played by young children. Players soon discover that best play from both parties leads to a draw. In my version the boxes refer to unequal opponents, or advantaged and disadvantaged player. The boxed set, aside from having prints and an "instruction book" also contain small stamping tools in the shape of hands that are used to mark the tic-tac-toe grid. In Play Money the instructions are a poem referring to our bankers, the men of great appetites. The carved images used for stamping are a child at play and Mr. Monopoly. Link to more on Play Money.
Power Play - ©William Evertson 2010 - collage game box
The second game box, Power Play is a similar format. Prints line and collage the boxes interior while an instruction manual and game pieces complete the piece. Power Play instructions references and contrasts the innocent non-structure of the play ground with institutional violence. Link to more on Power Play.
Three Little Kittens Re-Kindled - ©William Evertson 2013 - artist book
Also included is my analogue version of the Kindle. The interior contains digital pigment prints of the kindle version of the popular children's story scanned from a Kindle. A previous blog post contains information concerning the various copyright issues at work in this piece.
Kalicorp Art Mysteries, Issues #1-8, Collaboration - William Evertson, Susan Shulman (and Ria Vanden Eynde on issues #1-5) Ongoing comic book series
Finally, the collaborative series of comics lately produced by Susan Shulman of Montreal and myself is on display. The comic, which was funded by a successful Kickstarter, is a satirical look at the process of making art. The comic is set in the fictional ArtWorld, which closely resembles todays art market. It often features cameo appearances by artist friends and the endless series of controversies surrounding market conditions form the backstory of each issue. Art Mysteries Blog link.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
True confession; if not for comics I probably wouldn't be an artist. As a kid from a small town with blue collar parents, museums and cultural opportunities might as well have been on the moon. Culture was spending an hour at Signor's Cigar Store looking through the comic rack until getting getting the word to buy something or get booted out.
It wasn't until college that I got to see the great underground of the comic world and Art Spiegelman.
The Jewish Museum's Spiegelman retrospective is a chance to see a cohesive body of work that features both his Pulitzer winning Maus and a substantial body of early work.
The exhibition includes some great early works like Ace Hole, Midget Detective and The Viper Vicar of Vice, Villainy and Vickedness as well as his Garbage Pail Kids and Wacky Packages.
Art Spiegelman 'Garbage Pail Kids'
I was struck by the thought while looking over the material how different it looks on the wall as opposed to the book format I'm used to. Comics and graphic novels have an ability to retain an air of transgressive nature by their format in book form that eludes most 'high' art or 'fine' art. These are works that by their nature are resistant to becoming a commodity in the current high stakes art world poker game. While there is a collectible market for early comics, for the most part Spiegelman's work remains available for view or for purchase insuring that its importance lies in the art not in scarcity.
Wall viewing also provides us with an opportunity to see the artist at work. More than a few panels are unpacked with the addition of preliminary sketches that show how the images build up to final compositions.
Art Spiegelman - from In the Shadow of No Towers
In the years since Maus, Spiegelman has referred to the work as the 5000 pound rodent on his back; although from my viewpoint he remains vital, evidenced from the works at the end of the exhibit including his In the Shadow of No Towers and collaboration with Pilobolus on a dance and theatrical work.
Art Spiegelman's Co-Mix is at the Jewish Museum through March 23.
(5th Ave at 92nd. st. NYC)
Sunday, January 19, 2014
The Tempest - © William Evertson - Woodcut 20" x 60"
"Full fathom five thy father lies;Of his bones are coral made;Those are pearls that were his eyes:Nothing of him that doth fadeBut doth suffer a sea-changeInto something rich and strange.Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell."
Ariel's song from The Tempest by William Shakespeare
Two months ago (mid November) I began another large format woodcut based on digital images first presented in Atlanta as part of the Billboard Project. Three trial proofs gave me the correct color combinations and my first AP is pictured above .
The piece is loosely inspired by a scene from Shakespeare's play of the same name. Ariel, the spirit helper of Prospero summons the tempest. Music, magic and water complete my imagery.
Six blocks are used to construct this piece. One background block, two for water, two for Ariel and one for the linear sweep of the music.
Six panels from The Tempest
Bokashi (gradations) are used extensively on all panels. The background panel alone required 12 inkings to build the sky. These prints are too large for the use of a kento registration system. Instead I trap the upper edge of the paper and flip the paper on and off the blocks as they are inked.
Building the background colors.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Clock...I wrote clock, I meant Block!
Stop...reevaluate...a small typing slip, yet telling in a way I had not intended when beginning this post.
I have a reoccurring thought each time I begin a block for a woodcut. Perhaps it's more of an unanswered question that resides deep inside the process at the root of all my art making. "Why is this going to be a woodcut?" This particular image.... why is the drawing, pastel or paint not sufficient....why of all things does this have to funnel itself through the long and often convoluted process that carving a woodblock entails.
I never make many impressions of an image no matter the size, complexity or length of time devoted to the creation of the clocks....blocks. It's not particularly any fascination with affordability or the idea of multiple original.
Clocks mark time, they are a reminder of passing... each tick a small increment on the way to the future.
On blocks I make marks and then over the course of time compile cut upon cut until something emerges. Then another block is begun and more marks and cuts are made, someday to be married to the first block. So it goes until enough blocks are made and enough layers exist to interlace.
Each block insufficient to create the whole; each an abstraction and incomplete. Yet each block is a complete present moment of its own; some having much detail, some only left with a small island awaiting a stray but necessary color.
Perhaps certain work organizes itself so there is a record of its creation. a scrapbook of its birth and a possibility that a time may be relived.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
I heard William Kentridge's Refusal of Time long before I found Gallery 919 at the Metropolitan Museum. The soundscape created by collaborator Philip Miller with some tuba heavy base lines was accompanying the procession portion of the finale to the 30 minute 5 channel video piece. Those who are familiar with Kentridge's work will find many familiar elements such as his shadow procession with all the ponderous hauling, carrying and trudging still at work in Refusal.
As the piece comes to an end and the crowd shifts I sit in one of the chaotically placed (and bolted to the floor to protect against any OCD attempt to align them) chairs. I find that I'm not alone in taking to a chair and attempting to adjust the angle a bit in a futile attempt to take in everything that is projected onto the walls. This is the artist's first reminder to us that time depends on our point of view.
In dealing with Time, Kentridge revels in the understanding of its inherently chaotic nature. That chaos is the elephant in the room and indeed the artist has placed an elephant in the gallery. At least a kinetic "machine" by additional collaborators Jonas Lundquist and Sabine Theunissen is referred to as the "elephant". Comprised of various pulleys, struts, open bellows it "breaths" with a regularity and mechanical certainty that provides a semblance of order to the otherwise disjointed nature of the projections.
Conversations with Peter Galison, Harvard science historian and author of "Einstein's Clocks, Poincaré's Maps: Empires of Time" form the background from which Kentridge explores philosophies of standardization, physics and power structures.
The work is dense with the artist's overlapping themes and imagery; much of which recalls and expands his rich tradition of stop motion, reversed motion and self reflection on dual natures. At times it recalls early cinema and vaudeville and contained in that whimsy is a entirely fallible human nature at odds with the hubris of the synchronization of time.
William Kentridge: The Refusal of Time: Five-channel projected video installation with sound and kinetic sculpture. Through May 11. Metropolitan Museum of Art
Met link for exhibition
Saturday, November 9, 2013
They Looked Behind - ©Annie Bissett
Artist and printmaker Annie Bissett's exhibit at the Historic Northhampton Museum presents an intimate look into the distant past of New England. Drawn from her We Are Pilgrims series of woodblock prints Annie looks back through the eyes of her Mayflower ancestors to revisit the lives of early immigrants.
The stage begins to be set by the museum's displays of artifacts from the indigenous peoples and early settlers in the central Massachusetts region. We are welcomed into the exhibit by a hand painted map of depicting the early colonial settlement.
Welcome to Nonotuck -Hand painted map on canvas - © Annie Bissett
Vast Unpeopled Lands - ©Annie Bissett
Annie's work is both elegant and thought provoking. Vast Unpeopled Lands with its patterned landscape and unique constellations is a wry reminder of occupation and land usage long before "discovery" and settlement by Europeans.
Although a modest number of prints are used to tell the complex story of two disparate cultures the artist is equally able to recognize the struggles of each.
The print Dorothy Bradford Comes to America depicts the drowning of a young woman, the first wife of Plymouth Colony leader William Bradford.
Technically, Annie Bissett's use of japanese mokuhanga printmaking methods seem well suited to this tightly focused exhibition. The use of lettering carved in the blocks adds a slightly anachronistic touch that brings the viewer back to a time when woodcuts were used to disseminate information and document events.
Her mastery of color gradation or bokashi combined with flattened areas of color and pattern give the print surfaces a unique and lyrical feel.
The artist digs deep into correspondence, diaries and histories of the era to unearth ties to the complexities of the quest for religious freedoms, definitions of morality and the yearning for individual freedoms.
In the piece God Bless John Alexander and Thomas Roberts, 1637 Annie examines the punishment of two men convicted of "performing ongoing homosexual acts with each other". Their punishments included whipping, branding and banishment.
Annie Bissett's work will be at the Historic Northhampton Museum - November 8 - December 6.
Link to Annie Bissett website
Link to Annie Bissett's blog Woodblock Dreams
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
The 2013 North American Print Biennial runs through Dec. 20th.
808 Gallery, 808 Commonwealth Ave, Boston
Juror Denis Michael Jon, Associate Curator of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts selected prints from a rather large pool of 900 contemporary artists and considered over 2400 works for inclusion into this edition of the Biennial. As an artist under consideration when we are not included we tend to shrug off rejection and move on with our work but when our work is selected we tend to think of the curator as possessing a keen eye indeed to recognize our genius.
Since a good deal of my time is spent on proposals, residency applications and grants I receive rejection emails often enough that I almost overlooked the one notifying me of inclusion in this years Biennial. I think it was only after hearing Jon's lecture prior to the opening of the Biennial that I realized the daunting task of coming up with 135 works representative of contemporary printmaking.
Additionally, Jon's lecture helped solidify some of the problems I have with identifying with the description "Printmaker". I've always thought of myself of artist first and at any one time may have works in progress that span a variety of media. Interestingly enough Jons' spoke of selecting works that not only were representative of the various techniques of printmaking but also looked for pieces that help expand the definitions. If I'm gleaning his context, it is one of recognizing some push back of artists against print based works being considered a secondary or lesser discipline due to their nature as multiple originals, smaller and generally grounded on paper.
The same qualities that may make a work appeal to young collectors or a wider audience acts as a double edge sword as a marginalizing factor in an art market driven by the unique, very large and very expensive. Boston Universities 808 Gallery was a large venue that provided space for artists who were pushing scale and working with more sculptural forms.
First view of the Biennial
Jon's selections for the 2013 Biennial included both examples of technical mastery and experimental.
Stephen McMillan - Misty Morning - aquatint
Philip Laber - House of Cards - intaglio and inkjet
If the crowds at the opening were any indication, works on paper and the continuing evolution of printmaking is still prized. As pointed out by Jons' in his opening remarks; innovation, risk taking and the ability of non specialized artists making use of new technologies to make surprising strides in re-defining the print is evident in this years Biennial.
Denis Michael Jon - Curator Profile link
Biennial Link - gallery directions, hours
Photobooth Kabuki at the 2013 North American Print Biennial
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Fantastic Garden - Project Director and Master Printer Maria Arango Diener
Maria has co-ordinated 92 artists (no small feat) in the creation of these four panels, each 22" x 30' that make up the garden.
From Maria's project description:
"Briefly, a Monumental Puzzle Print is a large design composed of 'puzzle pieces", each of which is designed and carved by a unique artist under a common theme. The project director designs, cuts the wood into puzzle-like pieces, then sends the pieces to participant artists; they carve their own little design and send the tiny piece back. Then the director assembles the carved pieces. The entire design, is printed as a woodcut print after the puzzle is reassembled and finally each participant receives a huge print encompassing the entire design."Overall the resulting print looks meticulously planned in every detail belying the fact that none of the artists knew where in the overall design their piece would rest nor what their neighbors would create. Maria's work on the background and areas surrounding each piece boldly unites the garden theme carved by the individual artists.
My Carp block is the top right piece.
Maria has also provided delightful supporting material with the print complete with edition information for collectors and maps for locating the various artists. A project catalogue with the print and additional artist information is due shortly.
For more on the Fantastic Garden Monumental Puzzle Print and printmaker Maria Arango Diener please visit her (fantastic) website - 1000 Woodcuts
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
It's bigger, it's looser, it got a great reception during the High Line Open Studios Chelsea. It was great to see Tipping Point framed and on a wall with some breathing space.
High Line Open Studios ran last weekend Oct. 18th, 19th and 20th in the Chelsea gallery district of NYC with 50 plus artists opening their studios and project spaces to the public.
My project space is a small subdivision of Ayn Choi's Gallery 304/ASC Projects in the Chelsea Arts Building at 526 W. 26th St. in NYC. In the picture above I've got both sides of that partition wall plus the rest of the alcove I'm standing in to the left.
Directly behind me is an older (c 2004) digital collage Stamp Collector. The space is large enough that I was able to exhibit many of my latest works plus several older pieces that show the transition of my interest in transparency, imagery overlap and layering from digital pigment prints to a more physically robust woodblock technique.
Turn out was fantastic with several hundred visitors each day. Most I was able to introduce to my art for the first time and some contacts via social media I was able to meet in real life for the first time.
Artist George Rodart looking at Moses; another of my earlier digital collages on view. Most of my digital collage pieces were created ten years earlier when Photoshop was a much newer tool for artists. Although I began the process of learning woodblock techniques around the same time, it's only been in the last couple of years that it's become a focal point of my art. Although my concerns with layering of imagery remains the same in woodblock, I have an increased interest with the physicality of the surface of the paper.
The Photobooth Kabuki series received a lot of positive attention; including this one I'm posing with that is included in the North American Print Biennial.