It’s print month in Austin, Texas! Print Austin offers a month of all things printmaking: exhibitions, artist talks, workshops, print demos – including a steamroller print event! – and more. There’s a wide range of in-person and virtual events.
Who knew Austin is a hub for printmaking in Texas? It makes sense, when you realize there are several university programs and professional print shops in the city. Here is a short history of PrintAustin.
PrintAustin exposition, PrintAustin image
Even though I am not able to attend this year, one of my artworks IS in Austin. (Does this mean I’m attending symbolically, as well as virtually?!)
Standing on their Shoulders (foreground) and wish you were here….(background), Terry Vatrt, mixed media)
standing on their shoulders, T. Vatrt, mixed media, internal view
The Contemporary Print exhibition is hosted by Big Medium, and the juror is John Hitchcock, Associate Dean of Arts of the University Wisconsin-Madison. It opened on January 15 and runs until February 12, 2022.
Speaking of Inuit art, (previous post) who are your favourite Inuit artists? Do you have one….or three? If you’re an Art Caravan follower, you know I have a few favourites, including Kenojouak Ashevak (1927-2013) and Oviloo Tunnillie (1949-2014.)
Kenojuak Ashevak, thestar.com image
Oviloo Tunillie, cbc.ca image
Ningiukulu Teevee is another contemporary (born in 1963) Inuit artist on my favourites list. (Isn’t that the beauty of lists – easily edited, amended, and never ending?) I first wrote about her in 2015. She works in drawing and printmaking, including lithography, etching and aquatint, as well as the more traditional stone cut and stencil. I am attracted to the sense of humour and playfulness evident in her art. The print, Trance, seems especially appropriate to this covid winter. (sigh)
Trance, Ningiukulu Teevee, 2014, stonecut and stencil, edition of 50
Her subject matter is varied; traditional stories and legends are explored, as well as contemporary experiences and life in the Arctic. The works express a beguiling combination of charm and edginess.
You Know your Inuk When, Ningiukulu Teevee, 2016, Madrona Gallery image
Yesterday, Ningiekulu Teevee, 2008, stonecut and stencil, dorsetfinearts.com image
In 2017, the Winnipeg Art Gallery exhibited a solo show of Teevee’s work at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. Ningiukulu Teevee: Kingait Stories caught the attention of the Smithsonian Magazine, who described the show as unique and wonderful.
In 2019, Dorset Fine Arts, in conjunction with Pomegranate, published Ningiukulu Teevee: Drawings and Prints from Cape Dorset. Leslie Boyd’s writing accompanies the 80+ images and photographs. Need a last minute Valentine’s Day gift? The book is readily available through your local independent bookseller (I know, because I just ordered it!)
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
I’d be happy to hear your three wishes. And please, pass the (dark) chocolate.
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.
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
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
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
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
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 .
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.
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
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.
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″
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
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?’