Cleveland (March 17, 2015). While some artists look inward to personal issues for inspiration, others look at the larger world. Fresh Prints: The Nineties to Now offers a glimpse of the multitude of prints produced in the last two and a half decades that depict images of many themes including: political and social upheaval, feminism, ecology and AIDS. None of these prints have previously been exhibited at the museum. Artists featured in this exhibition utilize a variety of printmaking techniques such as: lithography, etching, engraving, linoleum cut, drypoint, screenprint and woodcut to express their artistic vision. Whether by well-known artists or newcomers, these prints offer visual stimulation and provocative ideas. Fresh Prints: The Nineties to Now, is on view March 22 through July 26, 2015 in the Smith Exhibition Gallery.
“Contemporary printmaking is extremely diverse,” stated Jane Glaubinger, curator of prints. “Some artists reinterpret traditional printmaking techniques, while others experiment with new technologies or print on unusual materials. The large size of paper and presses allow prints to rival the scale of paintings that dominate the field of vision.”
The last twenty-five years have been filled with political and social turmoil and strife while computer technology and rapid communication networks promote a more global perspective. One of the prints featured in this exhibition, Annette Lemieux’s Stolen Faces, acknowledges the incessant hostilities and the ubiquity of the photograph in our experience of the modern world. This largescale lithograph, measuring 32-by-90 inches, presents the pixelated faces of anonymous soldiers so that they resemble people on television news shows who wish to hide their identities. A war photograph is represented on the right panel as the image would be seen on a black-and-white television while on the left is its color television counterpart. The central panel of the triptych, an image that has three panels placed next to each other, further dramatizes the anonymity of war with an image of only the pixelated heads of soldiers, disembodied, as if vaporized by the technologies of war, photography and electronic mass media.
Other featured artists use realism to investigate intensely personal matters. Female practitioners, battling to be recognized, are often concerned with issues of identity. Kiki Smith recently edited myths and fairy tales with subtle feminist revisions. Little Red Riding Hood, who is taking food to her ailing grandmother, meets a wolf in the forest. Learning her purpose, he rushes ahead and devours grandmother and then Little Red Riding Hood when she arrives at the cottage. Born, on view in Fresh Prints: The Nineties to Now, illustrates the episode in some versions of the tale where the women are saved by a hunter who cuts them out of the wolf’s stomach. Smith presents them standing in cloaks with the wolf forming a semi-circle below, an allusion to images of the Virgin Mary on a crescent moon. Smith depicted both figures as self-portraits, suggesting many feminine apprehensions, from adolescent rites of passage to aging.
Also included in this exhibition will be other works from CMA’s permanent collection by Richard Tuttle, Rosemarie Trockel, Louise Bourgeois, Chuck Close, Lucien Freud, Richard Sierra, Terry Winters and Christiane Baumgartner. Recent acquisitions include Julia Wachtel’s lithograph and screenprint portfolio, Precariously Close to 5 billion Points of Confusion, an etching by Julie Mehretu and drypoints and video by Kakyoung Lee.
Curator Talk: Fresh Impressions
Wednesday, May 27, 6:00 p.m. Free
Explore Fresh Prints: the Nineties to Now, with Jane Glaubinger, curator of prints. This exhibition of contemporary prints explores themes such as: political and social turmoil, feminism, issues of identity and the environment and man’s relationship to nature. A chance to see prints that have never been exhibited, works by Julia Wachtel, Louise Bourgeois, Richard Serra, Richard Tuttle and Chuck Close are included. Meet at the atrium information desk.
Lecture: Engraving the Contemporary
Friday, May 8, 7:00 p.m., Recital Hall. Free
Andrew Raftery, Professor of Printmaking at Rhode Island School of Design, uses the old master technique of engraving to create narratives of our time. Research of historical prints and preliminary work in drawing and sculpture are the foundation for Raftery’s engravings. In this talk, presented in conjunction with the exhibition Fresh Prints: The Nineties to Now, Raftery will discuss his process and discuss why this most exacting of techniques is appropriate for representing American life today.
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