Paper Fiber: Shaped & Formed

January 8 – February 27

January 8 – Second Friday opening

Veda M. Rives Aukerman & Meda R. Rives Smith, Normal, Illinois

Tom Lang, St. Louis, Missouri

Jill Powers, Boulder, Colorado

Constellation Studios joins in the city-wide FiberFest featuring an exhibition of unusual works made from various paper fibers: abaca (banana leaf), kozo bark (related to the mulberry tree), and pigmented cotton.   Artists invent new ways to form the fibers from casting sheets for collage effects, to wet binding translucent layers, and hand beating to expand the fiber for shaping.

Veda & Meda present Magnolia, a BookEnviron installation, sparking an experiential journey to seek an intangible connection to that which is beyond.   Tom’s works are never-before-shown handmade paper collages, for the “jamais vu”, from French, meaning “never seen” phenomenon of experiencing a situation that one recognizes, but that, nonetheless, seems very unfamiliar.  Jill is exhibiting unique artists books with pages of webbed kozo fiber, that carries the message of ecology and changes to the environment.

Veda M. Rives Aukerman and Meda R. Rives Smith are artists and identical twin sisters who pursue interests in printmaking, handmade paper, artists’ books, and BookEnvirons; creating artworks both independently and collaboratively.  Veda is Interim Director of Normal Editions Workshop (NEW) in the Wonsook Kim School of Art at Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois. Meda has been a member of the art faculty at Illinois State University and Heartland Community College in Normal, Illinois; and at Eureka College in Eureka, Illinois.   Both artists have exhibited widely throughout the U.S. and internationally.

Tom Lang is Professor in the Department of Art, Design, and Art History at Webster University. He earned an M.A. in Aesthetics and an MFA in printmaking from Ohio State University. He studied with S.W.Hayter and Krishna Reddy at “Atelier 17” in Paris.  His interest in papermaking came from a workshop with Garner Tullis, which lead to his own long-term study of the history and techniques of hand-papermaking.  His work has been exhibited throughout the U.S. and in Europe.

Jill Powers creates sculptural, and installation art with unusual natural materials. Her primary art material is an inner bark, which she has developed as a contemporary art medium.   Jill teaches in the Visual Art Department at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. A graduate of Tyler School of Art, Jill has shown her work internationally, and her work is in private, corporate, and museum collections. 

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Holiday Show & Sale 2020

Installation views of Karen Kunc prints and Kenny Walton Glass, plus some unusual and beautiful studio items including leather bound books, small boxes, note cards, blank books and artist books. See the “salon style” installation of Karen’s demonstration prints from her years of teaching printmaking courses and workshops….fun and loose experiments in lithography, etching, screenprint, and woodcut.

Contact 403-438-0049 or karen@constellation-studios.net

for information on any item for pricing and availability, as things change quickly.



Artist in Residence Taryn Zust, Cincinnati,Ohio

Taryn is a senior art student at University of Cincinnati, and had research funding for her residency in August. At Constellation Studios she created 8 etchings, made handmade paper for the title page, with a letterpress printed text, and put all together in a hand-bound book, all in 2 1/2 weeks of intense concentration. Great project! Here are a few highlights.


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!


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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Artist in Residence Jenene Nagy

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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.

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Artist in Residence Ayaka Nakamura

Artist in Residence Aya Nakamura has been in the studio throughout November, working on a  huge painting/drawing on canvas, and enjoyed have the wall and space!   Aya is from Tokyo, Japan, and enjoyed the quiet pace and light in Nebraska.   She also worked on woodcuts combined with painting, and dived into learning about oil-base ink for woodcut methods (the image below is of her woodcut in the drying rack, so an unusual perspective here).  Her works in animation are featured in the programing on Thursdays and Fridays at the CUBE Art Project of Lincoln, in the Haymarket Railyard.  This is our giant outdoor digital projection site, and the art series are by artists from all over the world.   https://www.cubelincoln.com/

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So great to have Aya here, and thank you for joining the Constellation Studios community.