Category Archives: printmaking

All I want for Christmas…..

The Art Caravan has compiled a brief list for this year’s Christmas wish list. Since the best  gifts are books and art (dark chocolate goes without saying,) I chose one book and one work of art.

Without too much deliberation – it seemed an easy choice – Guerrilla Girls:  Art of Behaving Badly  is at the top of my list.  Goodreads.com gives it 5 stars.  The New York Times rates it as one of the Best Art Books of 2020.  It comes with a punch-out gorilla mask – who could resist?

Guerrilla Girls: The Art of Behaving Badly

Just for fun, I decided to make the choice of artwork hypothetical – price is not a consideration.  (It is, after all, a wish list.) This made the selection far more difficult.  I considered a sculpture by Oviloo Tunnnillie, the Inuit sculptor.   Here is my 2016 post about this remarkable artist, with several images of her sculptures.  The ones I like the best are of Sednas, and are in museum collections, so, hypothetically speaking, not available.  (One can makes one’s own rules in this game.)

I decided to shop for a print by Sybil Andrews, the British printmaker and welder (!) who eventually settled on Vancouver Island, after World War II.  Her linocut images, carved in the machine age style, are colourful and dynamic.

Skaters, Sybil Andrews, 1953, artsy.net image

It seems like the perfect choice, doesn’t it?  It’s a wintry scene, created in Canada, for someone with a fondness for printmaking and outdoor skating.

Since we know, and the pandemic is emphasizing,  that the best things in life aren’t things, I have a third and final wish, which is a non-material item.  (See above about making the rules.)  My wish is for high quality art education in all schools, at all age levels, as part of the basic curriculum.  This would include practical classes, wherein all students learn to draw, play a musical instrument, sing and participate in drama classes. In addition to the hands-on learning, art appreciation opportunities would be provided.  Students would attend art shows, and performances by professional actors, musicians and dancers.  Artists would regularly visit schools to lead workshops and give performances.

It’s a big wish, I know.  But think of all the benefits:  happier, healthier, creative individuals.  Employment created for artists and teachers. We know that art brings a myriad of benefits to our lives.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone had the same exposure to arts and culture?

The original Art Caravan

The original Art Caravan

I’d be happy to hear your three wishes.  And please, pass the (dark) chocolate.

 

Print Month Update AND an Amazing Artist You’ve Probably Never Heard Of….

Have you been indulging a bit, or a lot, in Print Month?

Click here for the E / AB (Online) Fair and here for the IFPDA viewing rooms.  The viewing rooms are wonderful: informative, and visually satisfying.  They really are treasure troves, and lots more fun than regular on-line shopping!  Just think:  Helen Frankenthaler, Carmen Herrera, Judy Pfaff, KiKi Smith, Marion MacPhee, Joan Miró, Rembrandt, Paulson Fontaine Press, Zea Mays Printmaking….and please, watch the video about Louise Nevelson at Tamarind Institute.

As you can imagine, The Art Caravan’s (in person) 2019 visit to NYC for Print Week was jam-packed with great art viewing. Seeing Emma Nishimura‘s work at the International Print Center New York was one of the (many) highlights.

https://www.ipcny.org

Shifting Views, 2013, Emma Nishimura

Yes!  This incredible piece, depicting the landscape near Slocan, British Columbia, is composed of cut pieces of the artist’s prints,  wrapped by hand around the rods.

Shifting Views, (detail), 2013, Emma Nishimura

Shifting Views, (detail),2013, Emma Nishimura

In this exhibition, Paper Borders, Nishimura used the forced relocation of her Japanese-Canadian grandparents to an internment camp in rural Canada during the years of World War II as source material.  (More than 22,000 Canadians of Japanese descent were required to live in camps in British Columbia.  They were allowed one suitcase per person, and their homes and property were confiscated, and sold.  Here is a brief summary of the Japanese internment in Canada.)

Nishimura’s technical skills in printmaking are exceptional.  Note the exquisite etching details she executes by hand.  The lines in the Constructed Narrative series are composed of text from historical and familial documents / papers.

Collected Stories, (detail) Emma Nishimura

Collected Stories, (detail) Emma Nishimura

Constructed Narratives 2013-ongoing series, Emma Nishimura

Constructed Narratives 2013-ongoing series, Emma Nishimura

Nishimura’s An Archive of Rememory is a most engaging series.  Furoshiki are traditional Japanese cloth used to carry everyday items, as well as gifts.  Nishimura has made furoshiki out of her etchings of internment camp and family photos.

An Archive of Rememory, 2016-ongoing, Emma Nishimura

An Archive of Rememory, 2016-ongoing, Emma Nishimura

An Archive of Rememory, 2016-ongoing, Emma Nishimura

An Archive of Rememory, 2016-ongoing, Emma Nishimura

The artworks are wrapped, and knotted into paper furoshiki, to carry the memories of a Canadian family and their community.  Her furoshiki appear simple, but are complex works.  Nishimura’s  sculptured vessels are made up of visual representations of memories of a community denied their homes and possessions.

furoshiki from An Archive of Rememory, photo etching and photo gravure on handmade flax and abaca

furoshiki from An Archive of Rememory, photo etching and photo gravure on handmade flax and abaca

It’s a lot to absorb, I know.  It’s disturbing source material.  Nishimura’s  expressions of her ideas are complex,  creative and beautiful.  If you’re interested in more information, and images of her work, I highly recommend her website .

 

 

 

 

Print Month!

I know, isn’t every month Print Month?   ( I remember, as a child,  asking my Mum,  Why isn’t there a Kids’ Day, like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day?  Of course she said, Every day is Kids’ Day.)

For The Art Caravan and many art afficiandos, original, hand made, fine art prints are irresistible.  Once you get some familiarity with the world of printmakers, print studios and print shops, it’s easy to become a fan, and collector.

Each October, the International Fine Print Dealers Association (IFPDA) hosts a Print Week in New York City.   This year, Print Week has become a very accessible  Print Month of (not surprisingly) online programming and exhibitions.

Last year, The Art Caravan happily traveled to NYC to meet friends, and celebrate Print Week.  The main event was held at the Jacob K. Jarvits Center.  To say we were thrilled to attend is an understatement.  I felt like I was on a pilgrimage.

Javits Center NYC, T. Vatrt image

Javits Center NYC, T. Vatrt image

The second floor of the conference centre was devoted to booths from international and North American galleries and museums.  Artwork from Dürer and Rembrandt to contemporary artists such as Swoon were on display, and for sale.  It was exciting, inspiring and provided abundant choices for the IF You could have any Artwork on Display? game.  A few happy hours were spent wandering up and down the aisles, viewing artwork and talking to the dealers.  Here’s a link to this year’s list of exhibitors.

International Fine Print Fair, 2019, NYC, T. Vatrt image

New York being New York, the art community embraces Print Week.  What I assumed would be the main event is, in reality, one of many print-rich opportunities available in both commercial and public art galleries and museums.  Because of New York based printmaker Elizabeth McAlpin‘s knowledgable recommendation, The Art Caravan also visited the E/AB Fair. This year the E/AB Fair is sponsored by the Lower East Side Printshop.

Editions / Art Book Fair, NYC, 2019, T. Vatrt image

The Editions / Art Book Fair featured hand made print editions from individual printmakers, as well as print shops. The Art Book portion is dedicated to artists creating handmade books. Many of the artists and printmakers were present, and happy to talk about printmaking.  The Art Caravan spent several hours, over two afternoons, talking shop with printers and studying the artworks.  Click here for this year’s viewing room…..and enjoy!

Leviathian V, Marion MacPhee, 2019

Levithian II (etching), Marion MacPhee, 2016

I was particularly smitten by these gorgeous etchings by Marion MacPhee from the Glasgow Print Studio It was a highlight to talk with her about the studio, and her fabulous etchings.

Viewing prints online is not the same as seeing them in person.  The textures, the marks, the depth achieved in printmaking doesn’t easily translate via photography.  (Another example of ambiguous loss.)  This year, the experience will be virtual.  Maybe next year we’ll be attending in person.  Perhaps.  In the meantime, enjoy the multiple offerings of everything print at this year’s Print Month.

 

 

Loss, …and change?

It’s a time of great loss.  The death of the American painter, Emma Amos , adds another drop into the ocean of sadness threatening to flood our world.

Black Dog Blues, Emma Amos, 1983 artnews image

Emma Amos (American, born 1938). Preparing for a Face Lift, 1981. Etching and crayon, 8 ¼ × 7 ¾ in. (21 × 19.7 cm). Courtesy of Emma Amos. © Emma Amos; courtesy of the artist and RYAN LEE, New York. Licensed by VAGA, New York

Emma Amos (American, born 1938). Preparing for a Face Lift, 1981. Etching and crayon, 8 ¼ × 7 ¾ in. (21 × 19.7 cm). Courtesy of Emma Amos. © Emma Amos; courtesy of the artist and RYAN LEE, New York. Licensed by VAGA, New York

Baby, Emma Amos, 1966, oil on canvas, 45" x 50"

Baby, Emma Amos, 1966, oil on canvas, 45″ x 50″

Artnews has prepared a brief slideshow of a few of her works.   Ms Amos worked across several media, from drawing and painting to printmaking, tapestry and installation work.

Emma Amos was an artist, wife, mother, and (sometimes) reluctant activitist.  She was a Guerrilla Girl! Guerrilla Girls work anonymously to expose gender and ethnic bias, but Ms Amos did say I was once a member of a very famous clandestine women’s group that worked at night and did not ever go out without masks on our faces.

Howard Cotter’s article in the New York Times Is worth a read.  It’s a factual, insightful and compassionate summary of a very accomplished artist. He points out the significance of paintings like Tightrope, Equals and Work Suit.

Tightrope, Emma Amos, 1994, acrylic on linen with African fabric borders, 82" x 58"

Tightrope, Emma Amos, 1994, acrylic on linen with African fabric borders, 82″ x 58″

Equals, Emma Amos, acrylic on linen fabric, image transfer, African fabric borders, 1992

Equals, Emma Amos, acrylic on linen fabric, image transfer, African fabric borders, 1992

Work Suit, 1994 Acrylic on linen, with African fabric borders and photo transfer, 74" x 54" Image courtesy Ryan Lee Gallery

Work Suit, 1994 Acrylic on linen, with African fabric borders and photo transfer, 74″ x 54″ Image courtesy Ryan Lee Gallery

If you’re like me, you’re wondering why you’ve never heard of Emma Amos, or seen her work.  She wondered the same thing.  The ARTnews article about her career quotes her: I wake up in the morning and say, ‘I have one piece at the Museum of Modern Art.  I wonder, Is it still there?’  ‘You know, I wonder if I’ve been deaccessioned,’ she said. ‘And I wonder how come nobody knows who I am?’

As we all know, it’s time for that to change.