Sunday, February 20, 2005

Yesterday was a pretty nice day.

Got up relatively early yesterday and managed to make the wander across the river to the Boston Printmakers 2005 North American Print Biennial.

I particularly enjoy this event because it is a chance to see numerous examples of the various media and processes which can be employed to create a print. My favorite, I think, will always be the simple relief print (where the artist cuts a design into a wood or linoleum block, inks the block and presses this to paper/fabric/whatever else s/he feels fit to stamp), but it's great fun to look at all the other works and be able to visually contrast, say, a mezzotint with drypoint etching or relief vs intaglio printing, for example.

The student exhibition is a great source of inspiration for me. Of course there is a wide range of talent/skills/creativity on display, but it's all instructive, and the better works are astonishing in their maturity (both in imagination and technic).

Of course, since I was out with my printmaking expert, I had a ball getting his point of view on these things. I have a good eye, myself, but I don't know a lot of the finer points of this genre; it's his territory. As a result, he gets treated to all sorts of question. However, it's fun to hear what comes from him unbidden - largely observations on how a background might be filled in, or about how admiring he is of a particular artist's technic.

These two biennials that we've seen now have been featuring a fair bit of photoshop work, and we're a bit perplexed with this. I guess that technically an inkjet or iris print is still a print, but so is the resultant finished product one brings back from the photo studio, so why not include photography in this mix? I understand that computerization is changing the realm, but I don't know if a little collage of images I'd pull off a google search and arranged in Quark is necessarily in the same class as someone else's reduction woodcut. That's for the experts to discuss, I guess. And time will tell if the computerized image manipulation will be viewed regularly side-by-side the more traditional works.

If you find yourself in the neighborhood of BU's School of Fine Arts 808 Gallery (808 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston), I'd highly recommend that you take a look into this exhibition. It's on until March 27th.

-Catherine Kernan, Sticks #1, screen print, 1988.

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