Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Prowess and Dusk in Lee Newman's Prints

This is it, folks. You can't take your eyes off of it. It haunts us, growing in stature and dimension and that line. Just look at it. Purposeful, refined, mucked up and re-written in plate, and on paper. It's something that swims with currency and timelessness. It's an image that can withstand the test to compare admirably with the likes of the German expressionists, Rembrandt, Lovis Corinth and van Gogh.

Master print maker Lee Newman, who hails from the Washington D.C. area,  knows his way around a piece of metal, and he knows just how much to give the viewer to keep their rapt attention. This print (above) is called "Janet", and it had me the second I laid eyes on it. It's pure drawing, and done by an artist that feels as comfortable working on metal as paper, which isn't always so fluid a process or transition as printmakers would like.
"Homeless" is another work that speaks of Newman's prowess and unflinching line that captures the moment - in this instance a homeless man crouched down along the sidewalk. It sparks an immediate recall of the drudgery found in van Gogh's charcoal drawings of field workers. Homage may also be seen in the way Newman utilizes his line as did Honore Daumier, but his linear descriptiveness is less confined than Daumier so we can see these figures in 'any period', because they transcend a specific time or place.

Another series that speaks to the elder members of our generation as it approaches it's twilight, is Newman's "Alzheimer heads". Whether this is an educational process for the artist to define portraiture through the varying stages of dementia, describing the vacancy, sense of loss, and aloneness, it does not matter. Newman aptly and hauntingly  portrays these people lost in their own worlds, and with an ever-lessening composition,  and in so doing re-emphasizes the crumbling not only of their physical parameters, but the psychological breakdown of their mental capacities, and memories which are forever fading. They are sad images, and they resonate the dread within us all who may know a loved one suffering from this growing national disease. What makes them poignant is their scale, which being small, creates an intimate and private hell that impacts us like Francisco de Goya's nightmarish Caprichos series. As foreboding as this series can be, I want to see more and more and I look forward to his latest DUSK series which he says is" related to my growing awareness of my waning powers as an artist." I would think that surely is a date in the distant  future.
Lee Newman's contributions to the printmaking scene in Washington D.C. area is legendary, and he founded the Washington Studio School. The WPG in Silver Spring, MD is the only place one can see more of his talent's work, so check it out.

In closing, I leave you with this last piece, called "Overgrown" which again foreshadows not a physical descriptiveness but represents an artist sensing his journey has still far to go before he sleeps. We all understand the nature of the roads we must travel in this life. In Newman's travels, we empathize with his twists and turns and bode him well.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Teresa J. Parker's "Voces Desesparadas" opens at CoSpace, Austin, TX

Hoping friends and colleagues will swing by and see the show, which is comprised of newer drawings and prints on subjects worth speaking about. Many thanks to art comrades Sarah Cox, Noah Masterson, John Sevigny and Eulalio Fabie de Silva for their support of this project. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fifth Annual Prints for Peace 2012 Project(Grabados por la Paz)


This is an annual print project begun by my friend Guadalupe Victorica, who resides in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. The invited country for this year is Japan. Prints donated to the PFP collection help benefit the Workshop of Casa Hogar el Refugio, a youth shelter in Monterrey, NL México.
This is a growing exhibition, and last year the show traveled to Greece. It saw over 250 artists from 49 countries participate. The goal is to continue to spread the word about this project to all printmakers, so please pass along the information to friends and colleagues. It is expected that this year's show will travel to the US and other locations.
Entries are due April 1st.
Send prints to: Guadalupe Victorica/PO Box/Apartado Postal #2175/Monterrey NL 64841/ Mexico
More information please contact us at 
Fifth International Printmaking Prints for Peace 2012 Monterrey, NL México.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Printmaking This Summer in Mijas, Spain!

Okay, eight inches of snow are upon us in the Midwest,  ice storms are blasting people in Switzerland and Seattle, so plan now for a printing workshop retreat this summer to the beautiful little town of Mijas, in Andalusian Spain. Sounds like a travel brochure, doesn't it? Sorry, couldn't resist.

Actually, I was recently contacted by Cascada Studio director, Mariann Johansen-Ellis, a printmaker whose career has allowed her to travel far and wide. She provided me information about her recently renovated print studio, and after looking it over from this winter wonderland we call Chicago, I have to confess, the place looks  mighty fine indeed.  Situated up in the hills between Malaga and Marbella, this area looks great for a vacation and inspiration for those of us seeking unique places to make our artwork.
Johansen-Ellis operates classes and workshops out of her studio, and they can be taught in English, Spanish and Scandinavian languages as needed.

Check out her website at or contact her at, ph. +34 952 48 51 72. The beach isn't that far away, either, so bring along your beach towel and your inks!

Elizabeth Dove Prints:On Tactile Remembrance and Being Human

Elizabeth Dove's prints and photographs take the viewer on a journey some of us may not want to make. Yet, there is a honesty in their openness which quickly changes the viewer's mind to decide this journey may be worth the effort and something we can all relate to.

Dove  uses objects like wishbones, hair, ladders, stitching, words and letters from dictionaries and writings from hers and others' journals to conduct a visual search for what it is to be human. This journal series uses her own body as a canvas; the basis for all the things going on in her mind, and in her own world of experience, to try to make sense of what obviously confuses us all - life, hope, fear, joy, and loss. The  image above is from Dove's "First Year" project relating to becoming a mother and the things one's body goes through in having a child - fluctuations in the body itself as it expands, contracts, hormonal swings, stitching it back together.

I am intrigued with her previous "Tabula" series(pictured above), which looks like clusters of red blood cells and the scarification of one's own skin, stitched ladders doubling as chromosome strains and rope knots -intact and cut off - which would suggest her hope for what becomes "The First Year".
Dove exaggerates the flesh tone of her skin to the a blood red, to emphasize what is beneath the skin, what keeps us living and what connects us as human beings. The realization of the series is a complete intermingling of blood cells on the composition and her son's footprints on Tabula V.

A more recent series entitled, "But I Don't Know Why..." is about a significant loss, unfinished conversations and questions without answers. This series resonates such an open wound of the artist that it may be hard for the viewer to see, but it speaks a topic most of us have also experienced.  Dove has written notes and thoughts from her journals on her own body and photographed them for all to see. The jumbled, rambling effect this creates re-emphasizes the thoughts one has after such a profound loss, the things one keeps inside their heads, ruminating conversations and reliving the grief over and over, trying to make sense of what will never be understood.

Dove is making hard, solid work. There are some visual associations with artists like Kiki Smith, Andres Serrano, and artists who use ink and paint to cover one's body (however those are often for political/erotic purpose), but Dove's not speaking as an outside observer to someone else's tragedy, design ideas or eroticism. She's putting herself out there for everyone to see, using her own thoughts and body for her work.And in a period where art seems to speak of the absurdity and media splash of cut up animals in formaldehyde and ill-conceived performance, Dove's work will have a lasting impact and an audience that grows to appreciate the human element her ideas and their execution.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lynn Newcombe's Metal-Lovin' Prints

At first glance, Lynn Newcombe's etchings make a bold splash of black expressionist/constructivist line. The Vermont artist's compositions are solely comprised of black line versus white space, and little else. And gosh darn it, they're some mighty fine prints!

As her website attests, Newcombe works interchangeably between her metal sculpture and her etchings. The linear components of the sculptures vary a bit, but the etchings are on task with describing buildings, bridges and other partially constructed pieces, which could be inspired by building block maquettes, or a Richard Serra sculpture.

The piece above is called "Jabberwock" and resembles an abstracted bridge tower. These  prints' closest visual relative  would appear to be the mammoth bridge and stone etching series of Piranesi.

There's a similar love of scale and massive weight of the subject as portrayed in Piranesi's work, but Newcombe takes them a step further toward 20th c. art and they compare very well to the brushwork of a certain  painter named Franz Kline. So much so, in fact, that they made me want to go back and look up some of Kline's paintings and revel anew in the power of his swift, decisive stroke.
I am also loosely reminded of Jim Dine's etched tool series with his history of mark-making and re-working the plates. There is a visible connection, but one finds Newcombe's forcefully rich black strokes even more seductive and engaging within their confined spaces.

Newcombe bends the drawn, etched line as well as she compels her metallic pieces. The woman loves metal. She says of her etchings..."My work is classical, in the tradition of Rembrandt, Piranesi, and Degas....My interest lies in creating what one may call layered prints, prints in which the viewer has the sensation of looking into and through the blacks."
Yes, we do see through her blacks in their varying densities, and we see depth and strength and a person who know how to handle line both as a spatial tool and as a record of human movement, touch and presence.    I want for nothing in seeing them, and  implore her to make more for our viewing pleasure. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Krishna Reddy's Prints Show Glimpses of the "Other" World

Krishna Reddy is an artist without end. What I mean is, he and his work have had a longevity and staying power that has lasted for decades. Reddy, an artist who originated from Andra Pradesh, in southern India, went on to study and work in London, Paris and the US. He has also been awarded with India's highest honor (the highly coveted Padma Shri) which is similar to a knighthood, for excellence in his field. His work has been exhibited internationally and he has traveled the globe as a teacher/guest artist to hundreds of universities and schools. The man can not stop, but the question is who would want him to?

"Butterfly forming" (above) is an example of the type of imagrey one can associate with Reddy's work. His pleasing compositions  of overlapping and integrated biomorphic forms, undulating colors and sumptuous surface are mesmerizing. Reddy's choices to deal with abtracted forms as a metaphor for one's internal struggles with spiritualism, and one's place in the world, isn't exactly a new message - but it is an eternal one.

 His work derives in spirit from the concepts brought about by Abstract Expressionism and Surrealism, but Reddy's work pushes through those ideas and  creates work that weaves its way through art periods and movements. There are visual components that resemble furniture designed by MacIntosh, and enlist the sweeping saga of one of  Joseph W. M. Turner's ship-versus-the-sea paintings. His web-like grids swing and warp out uniformity,  evolving into a visual push-pull and engaging us in the epic tactile battle like one finds in a Hans Hoffmann or Basquiat painting. Similarly his tight, illusionary depth mirrors and surpasses the ideas behind Aaron Siskind's abstract photographs. Truly, they are a sensory overload, but this master knows how and when to titllate and when to release us from his grasp. 

Reddy's work has visual and compositional references to other artists, like the surrealistic, internal mindscapes of Matta, and the linear prowess of Stanley William Hayter; an artist Reddy studied under and worked with at Atelier 17 in Paris. His rich, juicy surfaces propel his prints to rival the textural excessive qualities of painting and even sculpture. His mastery of color is nuanced and boldly applied when wanted,  and he understands well the emotional attachments found therein. The man know what its all about and what's more, he make it all seem so effortless and spontaneous - something we printmakers know is NOT the case with his type of prints and the years' and years' experience it takes to work with his multi-layered methodology.  

I am delighted to have found this artist to present to you, and hope you enjoy his work as much as I do.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Plan Now for Printmaking Workshops in Greece Summer 2012!

Okay everyone, we all know (here in the icy, snowy Midwest) what we're all thinking the moment winter decided to cast its first assault...WHEN IS IT GOING TO BE SUMMER!!!!????? Well, I've found this little treasure of a workshop located on the beautiful, sunny island of Paros, in the Agean Sea. That's right, Greece.  

Artists on the Move is a site that has all types of places for those of us who pretend to be normal and go on vacation, but just use it as an excuse to keep the ink underneath our fingernails. So I invite you to check this place out, and register soon, because it simply looks gorgeous and who doesn't want to visit Greece? Just adding a little Paros Island scenery eye candy to whet your appetites.....

Drawing, painting and printmaking classes on the island of Paros, Greece. Combine art and travel by joining an artist workshop with Artists on the Move. Draw and paint in an open landscape for seven days and savor all that is the natural beauty of the Greek Isles.

Contact Neva Bergemann via: e-mail:, 

Tel: 011 (30) 22840 25331 (if calling from the U.S.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Steven Chapp's Crows Foretell a Tale of Doom

South Carolina's Steven Chapp has been making a series of prints that foretell a time and place of uncertainty and impending disaster. His personification of a crow and its re-occurence in his images equates to an observer witnessing a series of unraveling events. Chapp aptly creates a series of images that tell a story of man's demise, and the birds observation and bleak outlook upon the scenario.  

Chapp presents the crow watching people frantically running down country roads toward one another. It sees lights and flames falling from the sky, people ablaze, skeletons and all of it gives the viewer a general sense of mayhem. Chapp's crow uses stealth to navigate the events and remains a little out of harm's way, but the colors of the sky and red flames reflect upon the crow's black feathers and leave a residual psychological 'stain' from the exposure. "Stoic"(seen below) leads us to a foreboding feeling as something is amiss, and the crow senses trouble approaches. It looks to the sky as though it smells or has heard something strange.
Chapp creates an intimate view of the crow as it seeks shelter and safety from the doom about to befall it. His  small scale compositions accentuate feelings of dread and anxiety as there seems no where to hide or escape what's about the happen. 

Probably one of the more doomsday-esque images is called "Man on Fire", as seen below. 
Here the bird witnesses the burning man. It can do nothing to save the man, and it tries to keep a distance from the flames lest it become engulfed as well. But the yellow and red of the flames' intensity is transposed upon the bird and it feels the heat of fire. It's near-apocalyptic scene is ominous, and again, there is really no where to escape what's happening. All we can hope for is that a place of refuge will present itself, and soon.

Deborah Cornell's Sublime Explorations into Genetic Survival

Deborah Cornell's work is comes across to the viewer as bold, ambitious and technically seductive. She bridges the divide easily between flat work, installations and virtual reality, and tackles issues relative to the physical to cultural, geographic to genetic. The piece above is called Repercussion III. In it, we see a pair of hands opened before us as if they presenting a gift. The hands are subtley layered with Indian henna-painted designs. Swimming around them are elements of  genetic strains and overlapping it all are what look to be global weather diagrams. So, what is it all about?

She has always projected an interest in global issues and an overlap of ideas which are present in her prints. In Cornell's "Space left Vacant" and her "Species Boundaries" series, one gets more of an overview interest in Cornell's work for our own species and how it has and will evolve genetically, how the species seem at once polar opposites, and yet have visual, if not genetic, connections. The visual references she promotes with human hands; how they are visually similar and then show the destructive progressions of arthritis  can be viewed as internal fears of one's own genetic break-downs as we age, both as a person and as a society.
In her "Games of Chance" series, the obvious is stated whereby she presents images that combine broken genetic strains, bacteria, sperm, disastrous global warming maps and aspects of game-playing via cards, chess. Evolution of the human species, let alone the multitudes of other species, is a luck of the draw and no one's survival is assured. "Straight Flush" pictured below makes that statement very clearly.
The blend of her subjects is maybe more directly connected than say the work of Robert Rauschenberg or David Salle, but there is a similarity in her collage of seemingly disparate images. The scale of her work is expansive and colors are strongly confrontational. The effect is work you can't walk away from, nor does one  want to. The prints are seductive and implore the viewer to come closer - like a moth to the proverbial flame.

Cornell's been teaching at Boston University for some time, and has built up an impressive list of international awards and credentials. She is also known for establishing the Experimental Etching Studio and has continually stretched the parameters of printmaking.One can find out more about her work at

Monday, January 9, 2012

Imna Arroyo's Print Installations about Ancestral Heritage and Faith

Imna Arroyo is an artistic force to be reckoned with. Her installations about ancestry,and the rich Afro-Caribbean blend that is her own personal heritage, has propelled her to create installations which engage a re-examination of history and bring about discussions on matters of faith.

I recently came across Arroyo's work and found an artist committed not only to investigating the complexity of her own cultural past, but presenting it as an educational tool for the masses unfamiliar with the Caribbean and how it came to be so culturally diverse. Arroyo, who  is of African, Hispanic and Taino descent, was born in Puerto Rico, and came to the US for her education. She teaches at East Connecticut State University and has exhibited her work widely in the US, Mexico and Cuba. Arroyo works with images and symbols associated with her ethnic identities and combines them with her physical/spiritual identities as a woman and her guidance from the Orishas in the practice of Santeria. The installation above is dedicated to the Orisha Yemaya, a symbol of the Ocean, the essence of Motherhood and protector of Children. 

Arroyo often combines her interests in printmaking, creating works on banner-sized paper/fabric, and incorporates them with handmade objects covered with symbols associated with the subject. Her other series "Ancestors of the Passage" and "Trial of Bones" describe the horrific losses of human life as Africans were transported across the Atlantic Ocean during the 'Middle Passage' lead her to visit Africa to explore the detention centers where people were gathered and held imprisoned before bringing them as slaves to the Caribbean and the States. 

Overall, Arroyo ambitiously presents these subjects an enlightens us about elements of history and faith. I applaud her ingenuity and am intrigued to know more about her work. The Orishas guide her journey as she identifies what it is to be a woman and the fortitude with which she embarks on her path. All artists embark on their own creative paths. It is pleasing to see how this artist has chosen to follow hers.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sarah Serio's Triptych of Internal Strife Shows at the MAPC Show

Yes, the close is near for the Mid America Print Council Members' Fall 2011 Show, which has been a resounding success. The exhibition will close on January 6, but I wanted to get in a couple more pieces that have yet to be reviewed. Above we see Sarah Serio's dark-themed triptych, called 'The Subjection, The Despair, The Burden". Serio is a young artist, with an additional educational background in journalism and communication arts.

This piece speaks to the general internal struggles women find themselves involved in - vulnerability to advances(wanted or not), the despair that comes from a bad experience or loss of a love, and the burden that one carries around with them in the aftermath. Her images communicate well the ideas she wants to discuss - the first image with a revealed back turned and hunched inward show more the uncertainty of the experience about to unfold. The anguish expressed in the central image shows all too clearly the shame or sorrow that occurred in the first image, and the reclining figure's mournful repose unveils woman's emotional resignation as she figures out how to deal with it.

Utilizing her photographic experience, the faces of the woman have been deliberately obscured and cropped to make them an archetype - because Serio wants to project the series as every woman can, or has, experienced these feelings at some point in their lives. It's not a pleasant topic but unfortunately a frequent one. We'll see how Serio progresses with the series, and how or if she wants to speak further on topics associated with women.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

La Calaca International Print Exchange opens In Lauderhill, Florida

Very pleased to be included in this travelling exhibit of 150 printmakers from over 20 countries.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Yes, Printmakers Are Working in Alaska!

Happy New year to all the little printmakers out there. I'm hoping everyone's been keeping things 'inked up' over the holidays.

On one of my fact-finding missions to bring the global spectrum of print-making ever closer and closer, I became curious about what goes on in the upper stretches of the US, and to my pleasant surprise I found someone's work that is piqued my interest, so today's entry will introduce the work of Sara Tabbert.

Tabbert is living, working and making prints in Fairbanks, Alaska. While Tabbert is originally from Alaska, that seems quite a hard place to be making artwork after having come from the Midwest (Nebraska and Iowa, respectively), but as anyone working in northerly environs knows, you can make prints anywhere and anytime.)

Tabbert's images have a largess about them, while seeming to be about observations of small, almost intimate aspects of the landscape. This piece, called "Surface"(above), would seem to be about air bubbles trapped underneath ice.  The muted, subtle colors that Tabbert uses help emphasize that idea. One cannot tell, however, if we are above or below the ice being presented here, but we hope it is the former.

Her related works also deal with nature and things found therein; fur, blood, water, ice, and divisions in the open landscape like this piece called "Coil"(above). It speaks about a place somewhat forlorn, where the coil fence has been let go, and man has given up his claim upon the land. The fence no longer divides property, but allows nature to reclaim itself and the coiled fence proceeds to rust in its abandon. The billowing clouds rolling across the skies also emphasize the passing of time, and a return to some peaceful coexistence.

Tabbert understands her images well, and her work shows her fascination with simpler forms found in Nature. Her period of study at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, can only have been an insightful time studying with the renowned Karen Kunc, whose own images harken to an intimate understanding of integrated natural form with sumptuous color. Yet Tabbert's own sensibility for graduated layers of muted colors is quite appealing, and they rest pleasingly with the viewer. She is making things happen in Alaska, folks, and is keeping abreast of things going on elsewhere outside what we might perceive as an isolated studio environment. For those of us brave enough to take a jaunt up there, we may find a refreshingly inspiring refuge to work amongst the moose and caribou. More about Sara's work can be found at