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.
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!
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.
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.
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”.
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 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.
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).
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!
Barbara Tetenbaum is a visual artist interested in the act of reading. She uses the mediums of books, prints, installation, and animation to explore this subject matter. She founded her artist book imprint, Triangular Press, in 1979. Barb is the recipient of two Fulbright Fellowships, career and project awards from the Oregon Arts Commission, Ford Family Foundation, Oregon Community Foundation and the Regional Arts and Culture Council. She is currently Professor and Head of the Book + Print at the Oregon College of Art and Craft. She holds a B.S. (Fine Art) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Artists play with printmaking solutions that feature graphic patterning, complex play of image making, effects of optical or layered color mixing, all created through carving and printing of woodblocks. There is raw yet elegant mastery in their works and references to nature, science and social commentary.
Inspiring are new prints from Anne Burton (Lincoln), Betsy Best (Seattle) and Jean Gumpper (Colorado Springs), and significant suites of prints from the past by Keiko Hara (Walla Walla) and Brian Curling (Radebeul, Germany), brought to view from the flat files in the Constellation Studios collection.
Semographics III Monoprinting Collaboration, is an exhibition that presents the work of 12 printmakers who joined in a weeklong experiment to print together as a team, using silkscreen (the fine art terminology is “serigraphy”, hence Semographics)) and relief printmaking. The collaboration event took place in March 2017 onsite at the Atlanta Printmakers Studio and the Savannah College of Art & Design – Atlanta, and was a featured event at the annual Southern Graphics Council International Conference. The resulting prints are a cross-disciplinary challenge – even a stylistic and technical mixed media “mash up” – with each unique print showing iterations, beautiful moments and graphic themes.
The group conducted a collaborative protocol involving a ‘Neutral Zone’, where all of the ‘in progress’ impressions were ‘up for grabs’ for anyone to embellish; and the ‘Safe Zone’, where any impressions deemed as ‘finished’ or aesthetically resolved were kept. Allowing the process to develop, over 150 prints were made with layers from different artists, hand applications of color and drawing, and aesthetic touches and special printing effects. Each work represents collective solutions to enhance and “solve” imagery from what other artists had done. Ultimately, the print series is a critical examination of choices, each artist’s practice, of technical demands, and stamina.
This Semographics III portfolio of 50 selected works is traveling for exhibitions nationally, including the presentation at Constellation Studios. The project was organized by Professor Timothy High, University of Texas Austin, with co-chair Stephanie Hunder, Concordia University, St. Paul, MN. The other participants are: Kathryn Maxwell, Arizona State University, Tempe; Sandra Fernandez, New Jersey; Brian Johnson, Texas State University, San Marco; David Newman, Brookhaven College, Dallas, ; Karen Kunc, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Lenore Thomas, University of Pittsburg PA; Amanda Knowles, North Seattle College, WA; Eric Avery, Pennsylvania; John Hitchcock, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Sofia Maria Paz, University of Texas Austin.
Jenene Nagy spent an intense week of carving thin lines onto woodblocks and printing onto silk fabric with silver and graphite oil base inks to create a collection of “flags”. Her work plays with the formation of signs from the negative and positive shapes and repetitions, as the flags are grouped to create optical new interior spaces and contrasting “afterimages”. She is interested in how “the flat graphic print becomes activated in space through the physicality of its material”. We experienced this visual versatility through the floating of the silks……beautifully flowing as we carefully handled and printed the sensuous fabrics and while looking through and within each. Jenene will use these printed flags for an upcoming installation/sculptural project to be presented in New York this spring. We are so proud to have been instrumental in this important production!
Jenene Nagy is a teacher and curator who lives in the Los Angeles area.
This invitational exhibition brings together the unusual forms and inventions that flourish in the outpourings of etchings, drawings, collages of Rochelle Toner, and similarly, in the etchings, screen prints, cut and sewn works of Lauren Kussro. Both create imaginative worlds and forms that seem to grow from streams of impulse and inspiration, from nature, beauty, abundance, and evolutionary change. Toner’s abstractions grow from her mature visual voice, honed throughout a productive career as an educator and artist in Philadelphia. Kussro, working in Houston, is an emerging artist and a new force that explodes the print form and questions the “how and where” printing can happen. Both artists exhibit a graphic instinct and naturally address “why to print” that bridges generations.
Rockie Toner is Professor Emeritus Tyler School of Art/Temple University. She earned her MFA from University of Illinois, Urbana, and BA from University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls. She has exhibited extensively, including A Survey of Contemporary Prints, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC; Colorprint USA, Museu of Texas Tech University, Lubbock; Arte Della Stapa, Grafiche Originali, il Quadrato Di Omega, Rome, Italy. She received the 2010 Printmaker Emertius Award, recognizing her art and career from the Southern Graphics Council International, the largest organization of print artists in the world.
Images by Toner: left: Pegit, drawing. right: Seed Exchange, etching
Lauren Kussro is Assistant Professor at University of Houston Clear Lake. She received her MFA from University of Tennessee, and BFA from Indiana University-Herron School of Art and Design, Indianapolis.
Recent exhibitions include: Solo show The Reef, at 500x Gallery, Dallas; Metamorphosis, IU Kokomo Art Gallery, Indiana; Atlanta Print Biennial, Kai Llin Art, Atlanta, GA.