New works by Karen Kunc evoke the inexorable tension of our times and the realization of irrevocable change. Created after the personal loss of the artist’s life partner, these striking images of waiting and potential transition offer a contemplative space. The pandemic years coincide with this time of grieving, causing isolation, loss, universal sadness, and greater possibility of change for all. These works-in-progress are the artist’s response to this moment in time and offer a visual metaphor of such transition and a memorial to our loved ones passed.
Kunc’s prints are created through the reduction woodcut process, from multiple blocks that were each printed and carved, then printed and carved again in an evolutionary process. Using selective inking and transparent-to-opaque ink qualities there are unique aspects of revealing and concealing, that mirrors the metaphoric meanings. Also showing will be new artist books, with etchings and eco-printing.
Constellation Studios is a “laboratory” site for testing how these new printworks go together, and how to live with art. Catching sight, passing by, studying over time becomes an immersive awareness, and allows for seeing and knowing what feels right. Join in this experience – an explosion – of color, new forms, and poignant timing.
Constellation Studios is pleased to host Stephanie Wright, as a Guest Artist-in-Residence, a new program to foster local artists for special projects. Her current body of work focusing on large scale drypoint prints on paper, will open on August 6 for First Friday, expand with new work throughout her residency and end September 25th with the installation and imagery transformed. Stephanie’s prints use animal imagery to activate a narrative of interrelationships and emotions of love, nurturing, rage, jealousy, social anxiety, fear and contemplation.
Stephanie has an uncanny drawing ability to capture such instinctual moods, through a turn of the head, glance of an eye, a furrow or eyelid lift, that wordlessly conveys such a range of emotions. She builds tensions through groupings, using space and placement to create isolation or movement. She scratches on plastic sheets with an etching needle to make a roughly textured image, which catches the printer’s ink when the plate surface is wiped. The plastic plate is run through the etching press with damped paper to impress the inky image into paper. In this way she can work directly and on a large scale, creating the enormity of an emotional body manifesting in flesh, hair, fur and faces, twisted in response to its own sentience.
Stephanie Wright earned her MFA at the University of Nebraska with a focus in Printmaking in the spring of 2017. She grew up in Louisiana and earned her BFA at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2014. She is an instructor and gallery manager at Live Yes Studios, Lincoln.
Constellation Studios presents the new prints of Isaiah Jones, who imagines an ordinary domestic dialogue as an extraordinary sequence of etchings with text-as-image. In these prints, her hand lettered phrases could be spoken or thought by anyone, with the effect of shouts and whispers, as threads of dialogue repeat and spiral into graphic recombinations, as words are redacted, erased, and layered as if echoing memory and visualizing sentences in space. The narrative allows for relationships to grow, then deteriorate, emphatic declarations become misunderstandings, exploring and voicing inner expressions of desire and anxiety.
Jones created her prints through the etching process, which uses acid to bite into a copper plate. Areas are preserved with acid resistant grounds while open areas are allowed to etch below the surface, which is where the image is developed. During printing, the plate holds the ink in the etched textured areas, while the unetched areas are wiped clean. The plate and paper are run through the press under great pressure to cause the transfer of ink to the paper. Additionally, Jones further worked the plate by using tools to burnish or scrap the image away, leaving a “history” of what was once there, while new areas were also etched into the plate, for a sense of layering and continual evolution. The print is the record of her actions, allowing the storytelling to “hang in the air”. Jones’ print series has a sense of urgency as the quantity of impressions alone demonstrates a “give and take” of flowing ideas and importance of communication.
Isaiah Jones is a Lincoln artist and recent graduate of UNL with an MFA degree. Jones was raised in the mountains of western North Carolina, and earned her BFA in Printmaking from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2015. She has exhibited her work locally and served as the master printer to guest artists in Lincoln, Atlanta and Savannah. Jones utilizes traditional printmaking, language, and storytelling to create individual prints and large-scale installations.
Constellation Studios presents a focused exhibition of the woodcut prints of studio memberAnne Burton. Created recently for a major commission for the Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha, these works on paper use a quilt-like form to contain microscopic details of cells, hidden insects and plants of Nebraska, a kaleidoscope of color transitions, while all resonating with joy. Anne interprets her own cares as a parent into a healing experience, that recognize the complexities and vulnerabilities that we all share.
A prism is a form that can both clarify and distort. Light that travels through a prism bends to become visible as colors. The invisible is made visible because of this interaction. The light itself is not different, however the way we see it is transformed. As we all emerge from a time of self-reflection and sorrow, this work reflects on how the shared experience of collective hardship might lead us to change. We seem to have a moment where we have the potential to radically change our relationship to the world and one another.
This body of work began before the pandemic as an exploration of my younger son’s illness and surgery after inhaling a rare form of bacteria while playing in the dirt. That experience made me intensely aware of the fragility of human health and how greatly it can be impacted by a single random event. Through researching domestic ecosystems, I became cognizant of just how much human health can be impacted by the destruction and manipulation of the natural world. On a larger scale, and now seen through the shared experience of a global pandemic, this work is an exploration of how we all live in a delicate balance with the natural world. My son had his surgery at CHMC three years ago, and time has helped to bend those difficult experiences back towards beauty.
Originally from Virginia Beach, VA, Anne now lives in Lincoln, NE with her husband and two young sons. She is a full-time faculty member in the Art department at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha and the ARTS program coordinator. She teaches Printmaking, 2D Design and Drawing. She holds a BA in studio art from the University of Richmond and an MFA in Printmaking from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Anne has held residencies at Vermont Studio Center, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and the Cable Factory in Helsinki, Finland. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, most recently in the Duoro Print Biennial, Portugal, The Boston Printmakers North American Biennial, the Lawrence Arts Center, and the Awagami Miniature Print Exhibition, Japan.
Join in the renaissance of letterpress today, using the Constellation Studios collection of metal and wood type and vintage presses for quality and hands-on directness. Discover the power of letters impressed into paper. We will also play with pressure printing, a unique printed “capture” of textures and patterns from stencils.
This exhibition presents the power of letters impressed into paper to print text for posters, prints, bookworks, and broadsides. These works are drawn from the Constellation Studios collection and includes poetry, images, and timely assertions, as beautifully crafted objects, or ephemera from events or announcements. These are captivating for the graphic nature and physical dimension of the printing, hand-produced by a variety of artists and designers.
For 500 years, from Gutenberg to the 1960’s, movable type of metal and wood held sway, yet printing technologies evolved to offset lithography and digital processes, which are more commercially prevalent now. This left space for the renaissance of letterpress today, as artists and designers use the “reclaimed” metal and wood type and vintage presses for quality and hands-on directness. Now this historic printing technology moves into the 21st Century as artists strive to maintain and preserve the cultural legacy of fine press printing while advancing it as a living art form, becoming self-publishers that embody the power of the press, literally.
The exhibition is curated by Kyle Nobles, assistant at Constellation Studios.
A steamroller printing event of the large woodblocks carved by the Nine Nebraska Artists will be held at the LUX Center for the Arts on August 15th, 2020 from 1-4pm. Other artists are invited to join with additional woodblocks for the steamroller printing demonstration.
This mural project is in conjunction with “Surface Impressions” – International Juried Print Exhibition.
Juror: Mark Pascale
Janet and Craig Duchossois Curator of Prints and Drawings, The Art Institute of Chicago
co-organized by Constellation Studios and Lux Art Center
First Friday June 5,
visit by appointment 12noon – 8pm
Call 402-438-0049 or
June 11, 6-7pm Facebook Live from LUX Facebook – Curator Talk – Mark Pascale
June 13, 10 – 11am 2020 –Coffee with the Curators – Mark Pascale and Susan Soriente, Zoom
summer 2020 – events, workshops, steamroller printing all TBA
Surface Impressions intends to connect artists and audiences to the 21st century language of relief printmaking as a viable engagement for today.
The exhibition includes 75 works from 67 national and international artists, with a selection at both Constellation Studios and Lux Art Center galleries. All the prints use relief-printing processes of woodcut, linoleum block, wood engraving, letterpress, and new technologies including laser cutting.
There is a distinctive graphic nature to prints made from carved surfaces as the energy of carving with gouges and burins is readily apparent. This action is transformed by pressure and ink onto paper which reveals light “opened up” from the solid surface. Artists are endlessly inventive with how the surface is changed, as well as with their innovations for printing from blocks, from essential black and white, to multiple layers of color and carving stages, to how the printing happens with presses or by hand. Relief prints use available materials for protest and actions, exist on large scale for impact, capture impressions of wood growth, and show intimate carved details on the end-grain of wood.
This inaugural biennial of relief prints here in the center of America showcases artists from around the country and abroad, all selected from an open call for entries. The works on exhibition focus on the role of the relief print as a means of cultural critique and exploration, of this ancient process but newly invigorated discipline as it is practiced and defined by today’s artists.
Light Prints explores the natural intersection of prints and photography as a means to record “outside” information onto paper. Light-sensitive coatings onto paper are exposed with objects or transparencies blocking ultraviolet light leaving a silhouette image that seems to “capture” the moment and the ghost of the object. These artists have used this historic process to record collected objects, the shift of time, and the nostalgia of memorabilia. Cyanotypes are known for the rich Prussian blue of the iron-based inorganic colorant, the first synthetic pigment, and used for blueprints, and in Japanese woodblock prints, suggesting mystery and transience.
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.
This intensive, exciting workshop will awaken the possibilities for the woodcut printing process for the beginning and advanced printmaker. This approach is not technically tradition-bound…but inventive, with contemporary, creative methods, that can be spontaneous, simple and direct. This expressive medium will be introduced and explored through demonstrations and discussions of cutting techniques, oil-base inks and water-base inks, modifiers, and printing by hand as well as using the press. Participants will go from designing their images and cutting blocks, to printing several projects using a variety of methods and individual discoveries. For all levels.