An exhibit that extrapolates on the child’s decision-making hand game opens at The Confluence: Art in Twisp on Saturday (July 22).
“Block Paper Stone: a Printmaking Party” is “a fabulous showcase of multiple forms of traditional printmaking such as etching, mono-printing, lithography, and relief printing,” co-curators Janet Fagan and Jennifer Molesworth say: “It also highlights contemporary takes on these traditional forms of printmaking with pieces that layer multiple kinds of printmaking within one piece, use non-traditional materials, and even riff on printmaking from a sculptural perspective.”
Fagan and Molesworth say they wanted to “shine a light on traditions within printmaking that do not get the same attention as drawing, painting and sculpture and are often misunderstood or looked over.”
Printmaking is the least understood of the traditional fine-art disciplines, they say, yet it is arguably the tradition that is the most commercially common in our everyday lives. “We wanted to give printmakers the chance to stand alone and showcase the fine art of printing,” they said. “We also hope to introduce our audience to the wonder magic and diversity of all that it includes, from old-school techniques to experimental mixed-media exploration.”
Fagan and Molesworth met in a printmaking workshop that Fagan was teaching at Confluence. There was an instant artistic connection. “We recognized in each other a shared love for printmaking’s dual personality of precision and randomness,” Fagan says. “It requires precise process and technique yet retains an inherent ability to enchant with its unpredictability and surprises. As working artists, we both engage as printers as well as painters.”
“Block Paper Stone” references the three primary traditional printing surfaces (wood, paper, stone) and “the idea of bringing all of the options, both traditional and non-traditional, for printmaking together in a fun and inclusive way. Printmaking historically is one of the more serious disciplines due to its requirements for precision and cleanliness within the process, as well as being technique intensive, so the idea of a more light-hearted invitation that would appeal to new-school printmakers was appealing,” Fagan and Molesworth say.
Viewers can expect to see a range of printmaking techniques in the “Block Paper Stone” exhibit. While many viewers may be familiar with the relief and reduction techniques used in linoleum and woodblock printing, the exhibit also includes examples of sun printing (using sunlight as a developing or fixative agent), mono-printing (creating an image by painting on glass and then lifting the image onto paper), and intaglio (a drawing or design incised or engraved into a metal plate or wood end-grain that captures ink within the lines of the drawing to be printed).
Etching involves drawing line with a needle onto a metal plate and using acid to dissolve the exposed areas which are then printed with ink. Lithography is drawing on a stone or metal plate with an oil-based crayon then treating the remainder of the stone with acid and gum arabic, which cause those areas to repel ink during printing.
Gallery visitors will see work by local, regional, and nationally known artists, such as Susie McClelland, who uses milk cartons as her etching plate. “A great example of making a traditional technique more sustainable and contemporary,” Fagan says.
A new-to-Confluence artist from the west side is William Cook, who Fagan says is “pushing the idea of mono-painting to its fullest with beautiful results.”
Methow Valley painters Jackie Iddings and Patty Yates are new to printmaking, but use their painters’ perspectives to explore the medium from different angles.
“Iconic, long-standing local carver and printmaker” Bruce Morrison’s works highlight “the beautiful wedding of masterful drawing and carving skills with imagination and whimsy,” the curators say.
‘Techinas’ also opens
While “Block Paper Stone” shows in the Main Gallery, “Techinas,” a solo show by artist Don DeLeva, exhibits in the Community Gallery. DeLeva believes that aspects of technology will be personified as technology evolves, a press release says. “Techina” comes from the words “technology” and “kachina,” which is derived from a Hopi term referring to spirits or personifications of things in the real world.
“Techinas” is a pictorial journal of DeLeva’s experiences living in this time of human history, the press release says. It focuses mainly on “moments in time and how context and personal perspective creates the viewer’s own narrative.”
The Confluence will host an opening for “Block Paper Stone” and “Techinas” on Saturday, from 5-7 p.m. The opening and the exhibits, available through Aug. 26, are free to the public. The Confluence is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. For more information visit www.confluencegallery.org or call (509) 997-2787.