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Week of 12 March 1999

Vol. II, No. 26


Printmaking Class

Two area high school students (left) attend a master class taught on February 27 by British printmaker Magnus Irvin and assisted by SFA Visual Arts Assistant Professor Deborah Cornell (right). BU students from SFA's Art Education Program work with local high school students on a regular basis. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

Exhibitions stretch the traditional boundaries of printmaking

For the entire month of March, Boston University is joined by the Boston Printmakers, Arches Paper, 16 other colleges and universities, and 11 galleries in and around Boston in celebration of the popular, intimate, accessible medium -- the print. Events on the Charles River Campus include: the 1999 North American Print Biennial and the Arches First Annual Student Printmaking Competition in the 808 Gallery, Recent English Prints in the Sherman Gallery, and visiting artist talks and lectures at the School for the Arts and the 808 Gallery.

"Printmaking is an umbrella that covers a whole array of media which are all different from one another," explains Deborah Cornell, assistant professor of visual arts and chair of SFA's Printmaking Area, who coordinated the University events. "The only thing they have in common is the transfer from a master or matrix (an image on stone, wood, metal, linoleum, screening, stencil, or a computer disk) to another surface." Printmaking, which became accessible with the influx of paper into Europe in the 15th century, is divided into four basic types: relief (woodcuts), which is the oldest and conceptually the simplest, intaglio (engraving, etching), planography (lithography), and serigraphy (silk screening).

The Boston Printmakers
The Boston Printmakers, a national nonprofit organization of 250 professional printmakers from across the United States and Canada, began planning this festival of printmaking nearly two years ago. "With support from SFA for the exhibition spaces and the visiting artists and lectures," says Cornell, a member of the Boston Printmakers, "we built a whole constellation of interconnected printmaking events to show the vibrancy of contemporary printmaking. The center is that huge, wonderful Boston Printmakers show, but it spins out in all directions."

"The exhibitions and special events tie together the educational, professional, and commercial Boston arts community," says SFA exhibitions coordinator Katherine French, who organized the exhibitions and facilitated the different events. "We are also creating a collaboration between artists nationally and in Europe, educating the public and creating a conversation between artists."


Recent English Prints. Sherman Gallery, George Sherman Union.

1999 North American Print Biennial. 808 Gallery, 808 Commonwealth Avenue. Opening reception March 18, 6-8 p.m.

Arches First Annual Student Printmaking Competition. 808 Gallery. Opening reception March 18, 6-8 p.m.


Beth Fisher, Gray's School of Art, Aberdeen, Scotland. March 16, 1 p.m., SFA Room 306.

Marilyn Kushner, curator of prints and drawings, Brooklyn Museum. March 18, 5 p.m., 1999 North American Print Biennial.

Mandy Bonnell, printmaker based in London and Kenya. March 28, 3 p.m., Experimental Etching Studio, call 617/482-9646.

Oona Grimes, Ruskin School of Fine Art, Oxford, England. March 30, 1 p.m., Room 306, SFA.

Gallery Events

Pepper Gallery, 236-4497
Nielsen Gallery, 266-4835
Gallery NAGA, 267-9060
Kingston Gallery, 423-4113
Miller/Block Gallery, 536-4650
Lambert Gallery, 781-826-5738
Michael Price Gallery, 437-1596
Genovese/Sullivan Gallery, 426-9738
Museum of Fine Arts, 267-9300
Montserrat College Gallery, 800-836-0487
Mead Art Museum/Amherst College, 413-542-2335

Recent English Prints
Curated by Alison Neville (SFA'76), Recent English Prints showcases some of England's most celebrated artists. Most prominent among them is Lucian Freud, grandson of Sigmund. This outstanding exhibition of works made principally in the last two to three years gives an international flavor to the printmaking celebration.

The 1999 North American Print Biennial
At the hub of the printmaking activities, highlighting the excellence and scope of contemporary printmaking, is the 1999 North American Print Biennial. Sponsored by the Boston Printmakers in coordination with BU and juried by Marilyn Kushner, curator of prints and drawings at the Brooklyn Museum, the show includes 169 works representing 108 different artists.

"This Biennial is one of the most prestigious national juried print exhibitions in the country," says Sam Walker, president of the Boston Printmakers and associate professor at the University of Massachusetts/Boston. "We have the cream of the crop from across North America: Maine to California, and Alberta to Newfoundland." Says printmaker and past Boston Printmakers President Marjorie Javan: "It's the best chance for people in Boston to see what's going on right now across the country, because there is no other national exhibition that comes to Boston."

The Arches First Annual Student Printmaking Competition
Alongside the Biennial, sharing the vast 808 Gallery, is the Arches First Annual Student Printmaking Competition, with 144 works representing 17 schools from New England, including 19 SFA contributions. Funded by Arches Paper, the competition was initiated by Walker in an effort to get students involved and recognize their achievements. "The quality of the student work is extremely high," says SFA Professor Sidney Hurwitz, also a member of the Boston Printmakers board, who coordinated the student show. "Some of the works reach the level of the Biennial."

In addition to exhibitions and visiting artist talks, the printmaking celebration extends out into the community, with printmaking exhibitions on view from Newbury Street galleries to the University of Massachusetts/Amherst.

The broad scope of the printmaking exhibitions and activities not only touches artists and art lovers, it inspires and enlightens the next generation of artists, according to Cornell. "My students are learning about the capability and expressive range of the print and the vibrancy of the printmaking community," she reports. "They're getting the kind of visual education that is hard to deliver in the classroom. This celebration has made students want to try harder, stretch their boundaries, and expand their ideas. I'm very proud of SFA for its vision in supporting the celebration."