Tuesday, October 29, 2013

2013 North American Print Biennial

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

Fantastic Garden - Project Director and Master Printer Maria Arango Diener

One of the nicest Kickstarter rewards I ever received arrived yesterday from printmaker Maria Arango Diener. Back in August my blog post "Carving Little Things" mentioned her Fantastic Garden project and the small woodblock I contributed. My reward for carving the small block plus a small Kickstarter contribution are four exquisitely printed panels that make up this monumental collaborative puzzle print.

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

Chelsea Wrap Up

Photo of Tipping Point in Chelsea, NYC during the High Line Open Studios
Woodblock print- 24" x 80"

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.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tipping Point

Tipping Point - woodblock print - 22" x 80" - © William Evertson 2013

A confusion of watery abstractions, gyotaku style fish, melting globes, music from sea shanties, a reference to an incised bone from Tikal and a character from my shadow theater combined to form my latest woodblock print.

As I shared the progress of the piece with other artists several mentioned that it seemed to be a breakout work. Often we don't realize in mid work what is progress and what is place-holder.  In this work I was busy exploring the details of layering that I found compelling when Photoshop was in its infancy. 

Bringing that kind of digital play, where overlaps produce interesting chance encounters of color or shape into my woodcut work required a certain amount of unlearning. Too often registration issues when working large on multiple blocks and the need for clearly blocked color areas kept me from trying for a "looser hand". 

Detail of Tipping Point - lower left

This piece along with other recent woodcuts, an artist book and several of my earlier digital pieces are on view this weekend during the Hi Line Open Studios Chelsea in NYC.  

I'll be in my project space at 526 W. 26th St. Room 304, NYC on Fri. Oct. 18 from 6-8pm and again on Sat. the 19th and Sun. the 20th from 12 - 6pm.  A downloadable map of the artists participating in open studios is up on the Hi Line link above.  Please stop by if you're in NYC.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

October is Exhibition Month

Tipping Point, my latest woodblock print is shown here in the trial proofing stage; right edge folded and clamped in place to aid with registration.  This large format print (24" x 80") should be ready to exhibit during the open studio weekend in Chelsea.  I'll be at my NYC project space with this and other prints October 18, 19 and 20.

High Line Open Studios Chelsea - Gallery 304, 526 W 26th St. NYC - Oct. 18, 6:00-8:00pm, Oct. 19-20, 12:00-6:00pm  New Works/Works in Progress.

One of my Photobooth Kabuki pieces has been selected for inclusion in the North American Print Biennial.

Boston University - 808 Gallery, 808 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA.  October 27th - Dec. 20th.  The opening is Oct. 27 3:00 - 5:00pm (I'll be in Boston for the reception)

Meanwhile in Japan this Photobooth Kabuki (in addition to the one above is on exhibit for the Awagami International Miniature Print Exhibition ('A.I.M.P.E') 2013, October 12 - Nov. 10th. Venue: Inbe Art Space
 (Tateishi 116, Yamakawa-cho,Yoshinogawa City, Tokushima)

Fog of War is among the pieces included in Book About Death Australia - Tweed River Art Gallery, NSW, Australia, Oct. 18 - Nov. 24

Rusi and the Axman is included in A Book About Death bound and submitted by curator/ artist LuAnn Palazzo for the Islip Art Museum: New York Bound - Sept.22 - Dec. 29

Page on left showing my signature glyphs from the back of Rusi and the Axman.

From NYC to Long Island to Boston to Japan to Australia; covering the globe one print at a time!