published in conjunction with the exhibition
INTERNATIONAL PRINTMAKERS January 24 – February 22, 2014 text by Erin Keever and Judith Taylor photos provided by the artists
GALLERY SHOAL CREEK Austin, Texas
Koichi Yamamoto, Kabedo, 2013, Monotype, 96” x 39”
INTERNATIONAL PRINTMAKERS B r ian Cur ling Ina Kaur Karen Kunc Monik a Meler Michael Schneider Annu Ver tanen Koichi Yamamoto
The inherent transportability of the print. . . brings these works here together, and mirrors these artistsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; ex perience and international scope -Karen Kunc
Karen Kunc, Along an Event Horizon, 2013, Woodcut, 14â&#x20AC;? x 50"
FOREWARD It is an honor to present these selected artists for the International Printmakers, an invitational exhibition presented at Gallery Shoal Creek. What brings this diverse group of accomplished printmakers together is my admiration of each one’s visual voice that is so present in their work, and our printmaker interconnections— where a play of “six degrees” makes our social distance very small in the global perspective. Among printmakers this ability to connect is paramount, due to the nature of the print, with its purpose for exposure and exchange, existing in multiple forms, with graphically memorable images. Additionally, of course, is the inherent transportability of the print, which brings these works here together, and mirrors these artists’ experience and international scope. Each of these artists, and myself included, by virtue of possibilities and opportunities, have accepted international connections for our lives through various origins and routes that can be traced as a network and a story we celebrate in America. We artists have each become part of the interconnected international printmaking community—being widely traveled and influenced from new cultural immersions, searching for educational enrichment and independence, accepting the risk of love and re-location. Annu Vertanen graphically captures the essence of social relationships, as she maps encounters and considers the pattern of interactions and attractions. Koichi Yamamoto cultivates an engraved line that transcends pictorial description into mirror image entities that test perception. Ina Kaur’s works are accumulations of lacelike microforms that could be within us or that become the make up of
Monika Meler, Pusto/Sucho, 2010, Diffused relief print, monotype, 37" x 60"
the immense bio world. Michael Schneider’s works conceptualize movement and flow within dense urbanity and specific sites, leading to tonally nuanced islands of order. Monika Meler creates prints with unusual glowing worlds filled with entanglements of nets or traps. Brian Curling creates prints that capture a place of sublime immersion within thickets, wind motions, seasonal cycles. I have paired patterns of systematic order with evolving biomorphic forms, as panoramas of waves and fractals suggest a new creation story. These works have a harmony together, and certainly reflect my interest in abstraction, color and “printed-ness”—the visual sensory qualities of print effects and need for graphic impact. We recognize the transferal of the mark by printing; there is physicality to the embossed print or the residue of ink; we “read” that manipulations came from another surface or material, as they is not direct. These artists address issues of repetition, sequence, editing and borrowing, the “from and to” indicating the delay and purpose of process and the print as a record. These qualities have a mystery and an allure that will intrigue and delight the viewer, just as these artists’ lives reflect the “from and to” of a shared international perspective.
Karen Kunc Cather Professor of Art University of Nebraska-Lincoln
KOICHI YAMAMOTO The language of printmaking, traditional and contemporary Born in Japan, Yamamoto is an artist who merges the traditional and contemporary in the language of printmaking. With a strong background in ceramics, Yamamoto’s works are often sculptural. Such is the case with his origami folded prints in deep shadow box frames. The folded etchings, smallish in size (10” x 12”) belie their strong impact. Yamamoto admits to recently studying facial expressions, and these origami figures seem reminiscent of William Blake’s visionary work. Dramatically different in scale are two towering monotypes (each 96” high).
luxurious with nuanced application of viscose pigment, their broad swaths of black remind one of a Franz Kline painting, but more graceful. “The monotype,” says Yamamoto, “is transparent— there are no interruptions in form as it appears. It is a seemingly tangible moment, and like tectonic plates, it is dynamic and in constant motion.” Engraving is a specimen of the crafted work, while the monotype is an act of investigation. Yamamoto completed a BFA in 1992 at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon, and then moved to Krakow, Poland, to continue his artistic production. He studied copper engraving at Bratislava Academy of Fine Arts in Slovakia and continued at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan, Poland. In 1999, he completed his MFA at University of Alberta, Canada, and moved to Denmark, where he worked as a textile designer before beginning his teaching career. Today, he is an Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville—considered one of the top printmaking programs in the country.
Clockwise from top left: Fukuro, 2013, Engraving, origami folded print, 12" x 10" Goma, 2013, Engraving, origami folded print, 12" x 10" Mutume, 2013, Engraving, origami folded print, 12" x 10" Kakuwariai ue, 2013, Engraving, origami folded print, 12" x 10"
ANNU VERTANEN Wandering black lines, lyrically circling around one another Annu Vertanen originally studied painting, but after graduation, graphic art increasingly began to interest her. In a workshop with Karen Kunc, she found the “means by which it was possible to place a painter’s personality into a woodcut so perfectly that brushes and canvases could be abandoned completely.” Today, Vertanen and Kunc are among the most noted artists in the world working with woodcuts. Vertanen exploits empty space with a refined visual and conceptual vocabulary. Allowing marks plenty of room to breathe, she focuses on the points of “intersect between two-dimensional print and spatial analysis.” Her abstract images contain wandering black lines, lyrically circling in and around one another. Enclosures are often punctuated with random—and at the same time deliberate—dots of bright translucent color. These “routes or tracks” as she calls them, are actually derived from her observation of human movement—emotional as well as physical. Vertanen was born in Imatra, Finland, and studied art at the Kankaanpää Art School, Lahti Art School, and University of Art and Design in Helsinki. Finnish printmakers are known worldwide for their experimentation and innovation in the techniques of printmaking. Such is the case for Vertanen who spent time in Japan mastering mokuhanga (the ancient method of printing with water-based inks). Vertanen has received accolades from numerous European biennials and foundations including: Masters of Graphic Art, Drawing and Graphic Biennial, Györ, Hungary (2009); Hungarian Graphic Artists’ Society and of the Foundation for Hungarian Graphic Art, Györ, Hungary (2003), Inter Kontakt Grafik, Prague, Czech Republic (200); and the Kaliningrad Biennale of the Baltic Sea Countries (2000).
Network Traces, 2012, Woodcut, mokuhanga, 16" x 12"
MICHAEL SCHNEIDER Fragmented imagery, open for interpretation Having studied semiotics, Michael Schneider is interested in communicative strategies and his prints are meant to be read. Installed in a horizontal order, the placement encourages our eyes to move left to right. By juxtaposing fragmentary photographic images of Viennese buildings and structures, he makes theoretical implication in the series he titled Transfer III. Here, references are made between Vienna’s Jewish sites such as the cemetery in Währing and the Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial designed by British artist Rachel Whiteread. Another print shows part of the Museum Quarter, a reference to the artwork, much of it once owned by Jewish collectors, which ended up in Austrian museums during the Nazi period. The upper section of each combines images of petroglyphs that he says, "are open for interpretation and in some cases are a play with maps to locate a certain place." This idea of maps and place is particularly evident in the triptych titled Rut Iro 1,2,3, a mokuhanga woodblock print created in color. Born in Austria, Schneider studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and at the Tokyo University of the Arts in Japan. Since 1990, he has pursued woodblock printing and has been involved in non-traditional approaches to printmaking including installation and performance. Schneider is founder and co-editor of "Im:Print"–journal of the Current State of Printmaking and staff-writer of "Um:Druck "–journal for Printmaking and Visual Culture. He teaches at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria, and is Adjunct Faculty in the Art Department at Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri.
Rut Iro 1,2 and 3, 2011, Mokuhanga woodblock print, each panel 15.8" x 9.8"
MONIKA MELER Seeing art and life from both sides Monika Meler’s diffused relief prints explore memory. Hung in space rather than against a wall, light emanates through—literally illuminating honeycombed and web-like structures amidst rich fields of color. The repeating motifs, printed in layers, change direction and mimic memory. Her work, says arts writer Steve Brisendine, is to be “looked into rather than at. Seeing life from both sides is an integral part of Meler's own narrative as well as her art.” Viewed from two perspectives, Meler’s work speaks provocatively from one who has experienced both Eastern European and Western culture. Born in Poland, Meler immigrated to the US with her parents at age ten taking with her a “still picture of the place I considered home. Upon returning, I expected everything to resemble that still picture, [but] nothing was the same. I was a foreigner in this land that I belonged to, and realized that the immigrant journey is much more emotional than physical. Confused and torn, I turned my nostalgia and longing ... into a reality” through art. Meler earned a BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and continued studies at Purdue University, where she earned an MA, followed by an MFA from the Tyler School of Art, Temple University. While at Tyler, she spent a year studying in Rome, Italy. She has held residencies at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Connecticut, the Frans Masereel Center in Belgium, the Cork Printmakers in Ireland and the Women's Studio Workshop in New York. Currently, Meler is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Visual Arts, College of the Pacific, in Stockton, California.
Fantasy Structure #1, 2011, Diffused relief print, monotype, 39" x 28.5â&#x20AC;?
BRIAN CURLING Mark making and metaphors reflective of nature Connected to the American landscape, Brian Curling planned to be a landscape architect. However, studying under Robert James Foose and Ross Zirkle at the University of Kentucky, he was introduced to book and printmaking. Almost immediately, he was â&#x20AC;&#x153;hookedâ&#x20AC;? and began experimenting with form, visual language, mark making and metaphor. He went on to complete the MFA program at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, where he was influenced by Karen Kunc. While at Nebraska, Curling worked, as he does now more or less, with the specificity of time and place. The highly organic and reflective nature of his imagery serves to connect him to his roots and his early interest in the landscape. Creating delicate woodcuts, Curling overlaps three or four pieces of thin Japanese paper. Sewn together at the top corners, the tissue thin, layered papers hang gracefully together. Following graduate school he was awarded a residency by the Finnish Graphics Council and traveled to Helsinki. Returning to America, he taught briefly at the Cleveland Institute of Art before accepting a position as assistant professor of art at The American University in Cairo, where he taught until 2010. He lives in Radebuel, Germany, where he is actively engaged in making woodcut prints, creating large scale public installations, and publishing collaborative letterpress books under Goldfinch Press.
Reflection, 2012, Woodcut, 26" x 26" paper size
KAREN KUNC Metaphorical imagery voiced in a timeless textural language Karen Kunc is internationally known for her large scale, abstract woodcut prints. Her metaphorical imagery incorporates richly hued shapes with timeless textural language. Like the imagery itself, the technique of saturating the tissue-thin mulberry paper with ink and allowing it to bleed to the fiberâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s feathered edges emphasizes the organic nature of the woodcuts. Kuncâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ability to layer dense color with areas of veiled shading is expressly evident in a new edition titled Biocosmic Wave. Here, Kunc masterfully balances and blends ordered and free flowing forms, mathematical geometry with lyrical poetry. "My prints suggest extremes of weather and natural forces at work, a sense of the micro/macrocosm, set against landscape or space, both wild and cultivated, intimate and unknowable. I am interested in the span of time it takes to wear away a canyon, build a mountain, the erosion forces that continually wash onto the plains, forming the earth, and, ultimately, shaping our world." Recognized as one of the most accomplished printmakers working today, Karen Kunc lives and works in Nebraska where she is Cather Professor of Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She received her BFA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1975 and her MFA from Ohio State University in 1977. Kunc was recognized as the 2007 Printmaker Emeritus by the Southern Graphics Council Conference, and has been awarded two Mid-America Arts Alliance / National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, a Nebraska Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship Master Award, and an Individual Artist Fellowship, Ohio Arts Council. She has taught numerous workshops around the world and served as a visiting artist to over 100 institutions. She has curated exhibitions of American art for Finland, France and Egypt and frequently serves as a juror for national competitions.
Biocosmic Wave, 2013, Woodcut, 21" x 28"
INA KAUR The convergence and coexistence of cultures Ina Kaur’s work is derived from her multi-cultural experiences. “As an Indian woman living in a post-colonial, post-modern global environment, I explore a continuum of cross-cultural negotiation. My identity is an assimilation of varying influences from past and present, from both East and West.” The textile-like motifs seen in Kaur’s etching and relief work suggest this intersection and her own hybrid identity. Central to each is a medallion form surrounded by clusters of small, circular forms creating a place where identities and boundaries converge. Kaur’s work, too, shows recent trends in printed work and its creative potential. In an installation called Constant Shift, she uses the idea of repetition in a different way. Here there is no printmaking. Rather, handmade cup-shaped paper forms, inlaid with colored thread, are arranged and affixed to the wall in various dimensions. Playing with the print condition of multiplicity, there is no need for matrix or a press. This approach, like her two-dimensional imagery, suits Kaur’s exploration of complex systems of communication and points of convergence between dichotomies—"East and West, local and global, ancient and modern—and how they coexist." Kaur was raised in New Delhi, India; she earned her BFA in Drawing and Printmaking at Punjab University, Chandigarh, India, in 2003. Awarded scholarships to Purdue University, she left India at age 23 to pursue graduate studies in Studio Art, where she devoted her attention to printmaking. The lure of printmaking for Kaur is that it "is inclusive of all the other mediums," and it leads her to a range of projects from installations to mixed media work. She began her teaching career at Bowling Green University in Ohio, and in 2010 was recruited by University of Tampa to rebuild their art program.
Juxtapose, Color etching, relief, and stencil, 24" x 18"
Ina Kaur, Constant Shift, Installation of handmade paper with cotton thread, variable dimensions
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