Up & Coming 2011: New Printmakers Make Their Mark
The Hunterdon Art Museum continues its long history of supporting and promoting contemporary printmakers with this second invitational show of prints by MFA candidates and recent graduates. We invited East Coast art schools with MFA printmaking programs to nominate up and coming printmakers, and from these nominees we selected twelve talented artists. Participating schools are: The LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies, Columbia University; University of Massachusetts | Dartmouth; Montclair State University; Pratt Institute; The University of the Arts; University of Pennsylvania; and Virginia Commonwealth University, School of the Arts. Works chosen for the exhibition utilize traditional techniques such as woodcut and silkscreen, as well as current advances in digital technology that create prints. The show includes two- and three-dimensional objects, artist books and mixed media installations that expand the conventional boundaries of printmaking and identify some innovative trends in contemporary art.
If there is a common thread connecting these diverse works it may be ingenuity. Many of the artists look beyond traditional printmaking materials and methods, incorporating other media and processes to create contemporary works of art. From Christi Birchfield’s use of flowers as a pigment to Donna Globus’ art of storytelling through offset printed sheets and books to Rhys Himsworth’s reconfiguration of a cardiograph as a printmaking device; these artists have developed their own unique techniques while maintaining the very ideals of making prints. Evolving technologies let the artists expand their printmaking practice, but their attention to the history of this art form allows for a fluid transformation and rich results.
Some of these artists have transcended a boundary in printmaking by making the act or result of their process interactive. Bonnie Kaye Whitfield’s printed letters, left for someone to pick up, result in anonymous engagement. The use of multiple processes is also prevalent amongst these artists as seen in the work of Vaidehi Kinkhabwala who turns the ordinary form of a dress into a multi-layered printmaking experience. By rethinking how to use traditional techniques to create innovative work, these artists have begun the long journey of making a mark.
“Making a mark” is both an activity and an outcome. When we speak of mark making as an artistic endeavor we refer to an essential gesture; for an artist, making a mark is an act of creativity. Additionally, the expression “to make one’s mark” means to achieve distinction or make a name for oneself. Both meanings are relevant for the emerging artists in this exhibition. While the mark they will leave on contemporary art is yet to be determined, each has made an indelible mark on this exhibition.
This exhibition is funded in part by the International Fine Print Dealers Association