Alma College Statewide Print Competition on Display
The 26th annual Statewide Print Competition art show at Alma College
features 43 prints by 33 Michigan printmakers, including six works
selected for special recognition.
The show, juried by artist Phillia Changhi Yi, professor and printmaker from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y., continues through Dec. 14 in the Flora Kirsch Beck Gallery in the Clack Art Center at Alma College. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Admission is free and open to the public.
“Having viewed 109 prints submitted by 43 artists, Yi concluded that Michigan printmaking has its own strengths and ‘flavors,’” wrote Carrie Anne Parks, professor of art and design at Alma College, in her review of the competition. “She found images of machinery that referred to the state’s industrial heritage and others with a sense of ‘emptiness’ like certain wide, Midwestern landscapes.
“She also saw examples of narrative and metaphorical story making, works with politically or sexually provocative content, and prints that seem to have grown out of historical contexts such as the Bible or ancient myths. Of special interest to her were prints that depicted aspects of the life cycles in nature — a chief concern in her own work,” she wrote.
Five purchase awards and an honorable mention were presented for works chosen by Yi.
The $1,000 Kent Kirby Award for Best in Show went to Kathleen VanDeMark for her woodcut, Portrait of Larry With Eggs. This highly textured, shaped print has as its central image a rooster whose feathers are colored with blue, red, green and white inks. Stitched to this central panel is a curved piece on the top. Along the bottom edge, there is a band containing a row of tan, blue and brown eggs. The visual texture produced by the woodcut process is enhanced by the physical texture of the stitched and collaged elements.
Yi noted the architectural format of this work as “like a Gothic window” and admired the elegant way the life cycle had been “embedded in textual mark-making,” according to Parks.
Bruce Thayer’s mixed media print, Three Faces of Time, received the $750 President and Friends of Alma College Award. This collograph intaglio depicts three rather ugly caricatures labeled, “The Jester, The Brute, The Saint.” Below these portraits, in writing like the white letters on a lined chalk board, are the words, “The Three Graces – The 3 Races,” and small collaged and stamped elements fill the spaces between the heads: men in uniform, naked figures and a vivid, blood-red gun.
“Yi thought this print was beautifully executed and showed great control between the humorous aspects of the image and it s more serous social commentary,” wrote Parks.
The $500 Alumni Purchase Award went to Mary Rouseaux, who combined transfer prints and wax on panel to create What My Mother Told Me. This small piece has the presence of a relief as its dark, smudgy transfer images wrap around the sides of the two ink think panel. The deeply shadowed, yellowed image of an angel found in a New Orleans cemetery refers to art history and religious iconography as well as to the artist’s more personal associations.
“Yi found this work ‘charmingly poetic’ and noted the mysterious quality of the words etched into the image and the ambiguity of its religious references,” wrote Parks.
Ladislav Hanka received the $500 Janet Gallup Award for his etching titled Garden of Eden. This print, presented like pages of an old book, is stitched down the center so that the image of an ancient tree is divided into two “pages.” The partially obscured title, engraved in Gothic text, is entangled in the branches of an overgrown and leafless tree.
“In this image, Yi saw relationships between ancient myths and modern concerns and thought it asked the timeless questions, “Where have we come from? Where are we going?’” wrote Parks.
Rebecca Zeiss’ monoprint giclee, Belonging, was selected to receive the $500 Leo J. Rozier Award. In this work, rose-colored chairs encircle a dark green space and are, in turn, surrounded by the darker grays at the outer edges of the print. The empty chairs stand for their human inhabitants and suggest an interrupted conversation, or one yet to take place.
“Yi commented on the textural quality and looseness of the marks used to create the image which ‘invites viewers into the conversation,’” wrote Parks.
The juror also awarded an honorable mention to artist Dorothy Anderson Grow for her halftone etching, monotype collage, Broken Nails. Printed from several plates, this print depicts layers of cascading nails, which create lyrical patterns in softly grayed blues and reds that belie the spiky, potentially dangerous nature of the nails themselves.
“Yi saw in these nails a metaphor for the ‘hardness and coldness of mechanized society’ and felt the color red, as it was used, had the quality of ‘blood running through the coolness,’” wrote Parks.
Other works that drew comment from Yi were William Stolpin’s Flint’s Auto City Speedway for its recognizable Michigan subject matter, Cynthia Foley’s Pears With Masks for its clever pattern-making and humor, Ben Bigelow’s Journey for its poetic simplicity and James Fagin’s Please No More Cloning with its interweaving of references to other cultures within the context of American culture.
After leaving Alma College, the exhibit will travel to a number of other art centers around the state: the William Bonifas Art Center in Escanaba (Jan. 11 – Feb. 22, 2007); the Jordan River Arts Council in East Jordan (April 13 – May 3, 2007); and the Buckham Gallery in Flint (July 18 – August 4, 2007).
For further information about the exhibit or for copies of the catalog, contact Print Show Coordinator Sandy Lopez-Isnardi by calling (989) 463-7286 or by e-mail: email@example.com.
Posted: Wed, November 29th, 2006 at 9:57AM