Print Show Highlights Both Craft, Subject Matter
Strong and varied entries that reach beyond artistic technique to tell a story or reveal interesting subject matter are what emerge from the 29th Annual Alma College Statewide Print Competition, according to juror Nancy Macko.
“What I like about this show is that it moves beyond craft,” said Macko. “In many print shows, the focus is on craft rather than subject matter. This show features works by Michigan printmakers that really stretch beyond technical ability. The prints are trying to say something.”
The Flora Kirsch Beck Gallery presents the annual print show in the Clack Art Center at Alma College through Wednesday, Dec. 9. Admission is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.
Macko, former chair of the Department of Art and Art History at Scripps College and current director of the Scripps Digital Art Program, viewed 78 prints submitted by 32 Michigan artists. She found a range of mediums and printmaking processes, including monotypes, silkscreens, lino and woodcuts, Japanese woodblock, multiple color plate etchings, collographs, solar plates, hand stamping, mixed media, digital montage and archival inkjet prints.
“The submissions are really strong and well crafted with interesting ideas,” she said. “In the mixed media works, there are some undercuts of political undertones. It especially was gratifying to see work that utilized digital technology as there is such a strong relationship developing between printmaking and digital printing today.
“It’s a very dynamic show; there are many wonderful and talented printmakers in the state of Michigan,” she said.
A practicing artist since 1981, Macko has presented more than 20 solo exhibitions, participated in more than 140 group shows and has received more than 30 research and achievement awards for her artwork. Her works are in many public and private collections. She also has served on numerous art advisory boards in Los Angeles and greater Southern California.
In addition to directing the digital art program, Macko serves as chair of the Gender and Women’s Studies Department at Scripps College. She has advanced degrees from the University of California at Berkeley.
The Alma College show features 51 prints representing the works of 31 Michigan artists. Macko selected four prints for purchase awards and one honorable mention.
The $1,000 Kent Kirby Memorial Award for Best of Show went to Lee Ann Frame of Fruitport for a multiple color plate etching titled “Elisa’s Moon.” The print illustrates a young women standing in the moonlight coming through her window. The work is reminiscent of the early 20th century work of Mary Cassatt, which has strong Asian influences, said Macko. “This ambitious work is very beautiful and stylish as well as intricate and precise, with multiple patterns on different plates,” said Macko. “It shows the technical maturity of the artist.”
The $750 Award from the President and Friends of Alma College went to William Hosterman of Coopersville for a pair of etchings titled “Locus” and “Current.” The “never ending” patterns in “Current” suggest a reference to yarn, hair or coils of rope one might see around a boat but lavish, said Macko. “Locus” offers a similar “curly” element with an intricate grid underneath. “These two prints are amazingly complex and fascinating; I can’t fathom how the artist kept track of the patterns,” she said. “He displays a virtuoso ability to maintain the integrity of the images.”
The $400 Alumni Purchase Award went to Linda Beeman of Ovid for a Japanese woodblock print titled “Guardian” illustrating a rock formation against a bluish background perhaps representing water or a snow-capped mountain range. “This is a really intricate work that demonstrates a subtly of image and amazing technical ability,” says Macko.
The $300 Luis Norberto Lopez Isnardi Memorial Award went to Janet Lorch of Fenton for a digital montage titled “Jordina’s Premonition.” The work is described as beautiful yet eerie — perhaps even disturbing — in its depiction of a wounded or deceased songbird lying on the ground. “The detail and multiple layers of the feathers make this a very tender and beautiful piece,” said Macko.
Macko also awarded the $150 Leo Rozier Honorable Mention to Mary Rousseaux of Royal Oak for a screen print titled “House Series #10,” which combines a number of printmaking methods to create a seamless collage that references architecture and building.
Posted: Tue, November 24th, 2009 at 4:37PM