Marking the Distance: A Retrospective of Books, Prints, and Assemblages by Bonnie O’Connell

August 2 – September 25, 2019

An exhibition on the life and works of veteran artist and teacher Bonnie O’Connell, professor emeritus of University of Nebraska Omaha School of the Arts will be presented at Constellation Studios, Lincoln, Nebraska.   Curated by Karen Kunc, the retrospective will take viewers through her artistic journey spanning over forty years.

O’Connell produces work in the media of book arts, letterpress and relief printmaking, collage and assemblage, that address the material culture of prints and books, often deconstructing and celebrating printed ephemera, the book as object, and the charged images of the past and present.

She taught courses in book arts (letterpress printing, typography, book design, bookbinding, and papermaking), alternative media and color theory. She has directed and produced fine press limited editions of contemporary poetry for Abattoir Editions, the literary imprint of the Fine Arts Press at UNO. She also maintains The Penumbra Press, her own private press established in Lisbon, Iowa, with a 40-year history in literary fine printing.

O’Connell is a celebrated book artist, known for her teaching, wit, and vast knowledge of the fine press book field.  Her mentors include: Walter Hamady who introduced her to letterpress through his Perishable Press Ltd. and his legendary teaching at the University of Wisconsin Madison; Kim Merker who founded the Windhover Press at the University of Iowa; and printer-publisher Harry Duncan of the Cummington Press and Abattoir Editions at UNO.     She has collaborated with noted writers, poets and artists, including Poet Laureates Rita Dove and Ted Kooser, Norman Dubie, Tess Galleger, Lynn Emanuel, Brenda Hillman, and David St. John, Louise LaFond and Karen Kunc. 


In the Details: Woodcut Print Invitational exhibition

June 7 – July 27, 2019

Artists:  

Alexa Goetzinger, Oklahoma City, OK

Liz Menard, Toronto, Canada

Barbara Putnam, Deer Island, ME

Kasey Ramierz, Fayetteville, AR

Mark Sisson, Stillwater, OK

Laura Smith, Honolulu, HI

These invited artists are attracted to the woodcut process for the extensive carving effort and handwork that goes into the wood itself, that affects the quality of detail in their printed impressions.   These artists share skills that are expressive or methodical, intimate, illusionary, layered, for the characteristic graphic impact that we love in the woodcut print.

Barbara Putnam carves shina wood, from drawings made onsite at dumps and recycling centers….mounds of metal, plastics, throw-aways including toys
Liz Menard’s migration of printed monarchs across vignetts of distant landscapes
Mark Sisson’s magical portraits, with color woodcut layers, and the key layer from lithography for tone and details
Large prints by Alexa Goetzinger, with variations of inking enlivening the massive orchid
Kasey Ramirez creates wood-grain atmosphere around haunting ruins or constructions
Laura Smith plays with her carved blocks to create printed variations of iconic dress silhouettes



Color Woodcut Workshop June 2019

This annual workshop drew 12 artists from across the USA…coming from San Francisco, Virginia, New York, Illinois, Idaho, South Dakota, Massachusetts, and Nebraska. Intense work and comradarie of the group enabled sharing and a fun spirit, as we got to know each other across the ink and while carving blocks. Beautiful prints were accomplished by all, as we enjoyed the studio set up, and the nice spring atmosphere. Thanks all for a great workshop!



Artist in Residence – Robyn Langley

Artist Robyn Langley, from Boca Raton, Florida, was in residence in May – June, creating her etchings on copper and printing series of editions and unique impressions with collage and letterpress. Her images of high fashion dresses are disembodied and iconic, and play with the patterns and details that abstract the human form. In her collage prints she studies pattern and design, and relishes visual contrasts and cross-cultural references. Her soft-ground etchings captured layers of details from pressed feathers and leaves, printed with a letterpress printed poem. She is going on to graduate school in the fall…..good luck Robyn!


In the Details: Woodcut Print Invitational

Alexa Goetzinger, Oklahoma City, OK

Liz Menard, Toronto, Canada

Barbara Putnam, Deer Island, ME

Kasey Ramierz, Fayetteville, AR

Mark Sisson, Stillwater, OK

Laura Smith, Honolulu, HI

These invited artists are attracted to the woodcut process for the extensive carving effort and handwork that goes into the wood itself, that affects the quality of detail in their printed impressions.   These artists share skills that are expressive or methodical, intimate, illusionary, layered, for the characteristic graphic impact that we love in the woodcut print.


Worlds Apart: Comix+Fantasy in Prints

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April 4 – May 30, 2019.

First Friday April 5, 6-9pm

This invitational show presents the link between graphic cartooning, tattoo design, classic comics, manga, anime, detailed grotesque ornamentation and fantasy drawing styles that are sources for expression and distillation by contemporary print artists today.    This popular “low art world” crosses generations and genres, usually outside the fine art world, and artists respond with irony, visual puns, horror vacui compositions, and technical bravura.  This exhibition celebrates the spirit of imagination and skepticism, creative play, and topical messages.   Works in print media, book forms and drawing will be included.

Artists include:

Brett Colley, Michigan

DB Dowd, Missouri

Victoria Goro-Rapaport, Nebraska

Bob Hall, Nebraska

Liz Hermanson, Texas

Darren Houser, Minnesota

Trishelle Jeffery, Utah

Brian Johnson, Texas

Phoebe Little, Nebraska

Joe Lupo, West Virginia

Josh Norton, Minnesota

Sage Perrott, Tennessee

Jordan Scribner, Nebraska

Ryan Standfest, Michigan

 

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Field of Vision: Taryn McMahon solo printstallation

Feb 1 – March 30  

First Friday Feb 1, 5 – 8pm

Images of plants and architecture from botanical gardens investigate sites and histories, highlighting the complicated cultural construction of an idea of “nature”. The digital and hand drawn print processes explore how our interactions with the natural world are mediated through technology, and are thus fragmented and selective. Through her work, the forms are remixed through the filters of printmaking, drawing, digital photography, and collage. This installation includes prints and Hanging Gardens, a large-scale banner with pigment printing on thin Awagami Inbe paper that has been intricately cut, creating interplay between light and shadows within the environment of the gallery.

Taryn McMahon received her BFA from The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, and an MA and MFA from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA. She has received numerous awards for her work including the Southern Graphics Council International Graduate Fellowship and residencies at Anderson Ranch Art Center, Anchor Graphics, Women’s Studio Workshop, and the Lawrence Arts Center. Her work has been featured in recent exhibitions at The Print Center, Philadelphia, PA and Carroll Gallery, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, among others. She is an Assistant Professor of Studio Art at Kent State University.

 

 

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STELLAR Small Prints 2 – Invitational Exhibition

December 1, 2018 – January 26, 2019

First Friday December 7, 6-8pm

• John Amoss

• Susan Belau
• Marnix Everaert

• Andrew Kozlowski

• Jillian Sokso

• Art Werger

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This exhibition presents the work of outstanding printmakers that use small printed forms for intimate visual engagement and graphic invention. The quality of their vision is expressed through an attentive nature and handwork. Additional small prints from the Constellation Studios collection will be on view.


Artists in Residence Kazuko and Kaoru

Two artists from Tokyo Japan have been in residence here during November.   Kazuko Araki and Kaoru Morita are sharing a great experience for concentration on their printmaking and enjoying cultural exchange.   This is their first visit to the USA, and they are seeing Nebraska go through  all the drama of fall to winter changes, while enjoying the open prairie landscape, football crowds, and studio activities of exhibitions and workshops.   We are enjoying our language efforts and translations about life and printmaking!   Special thanks to the Center for the Science of Human Endeavor in Tokyo for continuing to facilitating this exchange opportunity for Japanese artists!

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Kaoru is working in Mokuhanga (Japanese watercolor woodblock) with soft colors printed by hand, one each day for a color record of atmosphere and influences.  She specializes in shallow carving into the woodblock, so that beautiful nuances of tone are printed.   Her drawing is here of a still life from some of the handblown glass pieces of Kenny Walton, and her woodblock print from this image is just getting underway.

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Kazuko has created two editions of collagraph prints, from multiple cardboard plates, that have textures and drypoint scratches that hold the ink, printed in registration for a constructivist landscape for mountain goats.   She is inventive with her platemaking and the beautiful printed layers.   These two artist friends have studied printmaking together at the Musashino Art School in Tokyo.

 

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The Print: Tried & True, Techno & New

September 29 – November 21, 2018

First Friday Opening Reception:   October 5, 6-8pm

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Barbara Robertson (above)

Featuring:

Stacy Asher, Lincoln, NE

Randy Garber, Boston, MA

Shelley Gipson, Jonesboro, AK

Nicole Pietrantoni, Walla Walla, WA

Miguel Riviera, Kansas City, MO

Barbara Robertson, Seattle, WA

Erik Waterkotte, Charlotte, NC

Seven contemporary artists present works in print media and new technological approaches that examine the continuing necessity for the print in contemporary culture, with an aesthetic need for the printed mark with intent, and how impact is made.   Printmakers have continuously been the adapters of new technologies since the 15th Century, and are at the forefront of “inter-print” adaptations today, with the use of digital technologies for printing, for carving and platemaking, for photo-mechanical integrations, as well as photo imagery inclusions.   Significantly, prints today respond to the look of our technological age, that grants aesthetic weight to data gathering, chart and graph lines, the visual overload and dynamism of designed ad/image production, glowing screen colors and light as the impression. These artists question how to see and examine the world around us, through visual cues and memory.

Asher places graphic charged words to provoke our reading eye and mindfulness as a means to shape culture. Garber seeks to express the confusion and clarity of information, with structures that suggest the cochlea, the eardrum, and instruments of sound.   Pietrantoni combines laser burning and corrosion onto paper to speak of nature’s cycles of decay, destruction and loss. Gipson creates sensual surfaces across digital prints as bodies fall or leap, with despair and hope giving us anxious encounters with human nature.   Riviera references the sense of truth and respect in map imagery, as digital deletion with laser engraving enacts the exchange of viruses and natural resources that are relevant to the history of colonization. Robertson questions how imagination, geometry and structure relate to our physical and cultural environment, as rapid changes create loss of landmarks as touchstones for our history and continuity, while technology is a promise for a better world.   Waterkotte uses print and graphic production to intersect the archetypal using backlighting to double the layering, seeking to detect messages or visions that come from mysticism, beliefs and familiar but individual occult.

Curated by Karen Kunc, Cather Professor of Art, UNL.

This exhibition coincides with the Mid America College Art Association Conference hosted by the UNL School of Art, Art History & Design, October 4-6, 2018.     The conference theme is “Techne Expanding: New Tensions, Tools, Terrain”.

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Randy Garber (left)  Shelley Gipson (right)

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Erik Waterkotte (left)     Stacy Asher (right)

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Nicole Pietrontoni (left)   Miguel Rivera (right)


Project Volumina: New Prints by Karen Kunc

August 25 – September 22, 2018

Constellation Studios

Reception: Tuesday August 28, 7 – 8pm

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Project Volumina presents a print installation of compelling new work by artist Karen Kunc, created while on Faculty Development Leave in spring 2018. She was inspired by viewing collections and treasures from museums and libraries to create a new “image bank” of resources. Specifically, she studied rare books, manuscripts and incunabula (early printed books before 1501 in Europe) from the Dibner Library of the Smithsonian Institution, and the Library of Congress while in Washington DC. References are drawn between historical processes and technologies, scientific illustration, printed conventions of spatial illusions, systems of charting, mapping, mathematics, alchemy and astronomy.   She discovered these ideas from topic selection, chance encounters, page turning, following threads of connections and visual stimulus. Her new prints are created in a mixed media approach from woodblocks, etching plates, hand coloring, pochoir stencils, while trusting the unpredictable for experiential responses. Volumina revisits a theme Kunc has addressed in the past, and here again, her printed pages suggest quantities and quantities…..of printed knowledge or lore, history forgotten yet preserved, and inevitable change through time.


The Invisible Cities project in Venice!

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The Invisible Cities Collaborative Book Project, organized in 2016 by Constellation Studios, was exhibited in Venice, Italy, July 10 – 15, 2018. Many local and regional artists, students, and studio members and friends contributed art for this project.   Karen Kunc, owner and director of Constellation Studios, and UNL Professor of Art, presented the book, and also exhibit her own artist books and prints. The exhibition was hosted by Amor del Libro Studio, at the Palazzo Ca’ Zenobio, Venice, Italy, with an opening reception on Tuesday July 10.

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The Invisible Cities Book Project was initiated through an open call to artists, who were invited and inspired to contribute a book page in the specific size of 8 inches x 8 inches (20cm x 20cm) that were then joined together in an accordion-fold leporello structure.   Participants include 238 artists, from students, to amateur and professional, with local artists from Lincoln Public Schools, UNL, Doane University, Nebraska Wesleyan, and from across the USA.   International participants sent works from Italy, France, Finland, Bangladesh, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Japan, Poland, India, Croatia, Canada, Egypt, Argentina, Chile.   The works are in a variety of media, including prints, photos, digital prints, watercolor, collage, and drawing. Invisible Cities is bound and housed in a clamshell box, and opens to 80 feet (24 meters).

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This project was first shown at Constellation Studios in October 2016, in conjunction with Metropolis, the book project created by Amor del Libro Studio, Venice. Many of these artists contributed to both book projects in the spirit of collaboration and gift-exchange that is inherently the nature of prints and printmakers.

Artists responded to the concept of Invisible Cities from a novel by Italian writer Italo Calvino, Le citta invisibili, published in Italy in 1972. In Calvino’s story Marco Polo reports to emperor Kublia Khan on the various cities across the empire that he visited. Organized in a mathematical structure, Calvino’s descriptions are fantastical, of dream-like cities all named after women.   Following each eleven descriptions, the two men discuss ideas brought forward by the tales such as notions of human nature and linguistics.

Artist Karen Kunc exhibited her own artists’ books and prints alongside Invisible Cities, to show the depth of her exploration of book forms, and the richness of her printmaking processes.

Thanks for the warm hospitality and welcome shown by the gracious hosts, and so many any new friends!

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