Wednesday, March 27, 2013

1913 Armory Show Revisited:The Artists and their Prints

I am encouraging all my fellow inked up brethern to go see this 'reinactment'
of the original Armory Show via the wonderful world of prints. Go see it and
be amazed.....Below is a more accurate statement of the exhibition from IPCNY.....
Maurice Prendergast, Red-Haired Lady with Hat, 1891-1894, color monotype on thin cream paper, 14 X 8 1/4 inches. Courtesy of Marc Rosen Fine Art Ltd.
International Print Center New York presents
1913 Armory Show Revisited: the Artists and their Prints, which opened in IPCNY's gallery at 508 West 26th Street, 5th floor, on March 23. This exhibition examines prints by artists from the 1913 Armory Show, including work by the American organizers such as Walt Kuhn and Arthur B. Davies. Several of the original prints in the 1913 show will be on view, as well as many by artists who were represented with paintings or sculpture. We are viewing this important historical event through the lens of fine art prints; both European and American artists will be included. This selection of prints will illustrate the modernity that was such a revelation to the American public at the time of the first exhibition.

Artists in the show include: Alexander Archipenko, George Bellows, Pierre Bonnard, Georges Braque, Mary Cassatt, Paul Cézanne, Arthur B. Davies, Edgar Degas, André Derain, Marcel Duchamp, Raoul Dufy, Paul Gauguin, Marsden Hartley, Edward Hopper, Augustus John, Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Walt Kuhn, Marie Laurencin, Aristide Maillol, John Marin, Henri Matisse, Edvard Munch, Jerome Myers, Frank Nankivell, Walter Pach, Pablo Picasso, Camille Pissarro, Maurice Prendergast, Odilon Redon, Ker-Xavier Roussel, John Sloan, Félix Vallotton, Jacques Villon, Jean-Édouard Vuillard, Abraham Walkowitz, Max Weber, Marguerite Zorach, William Zorach. 
IPCNY is grateful to the generous individuals and dealers who are loaning works for the exhibition. 
Support for the organization's programming in 2013 comes from the Areté Foundation, the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Deborah Loeb Brice Foundation, City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Hess Foundation, The Jockey Hollow Foundation, The Ronald and JoCarole Lauder Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, The New York Community Trust, PECO Foundation, Porter Family Charitable Foundation, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in honor of Sidney Felsen, the Shapiro-Silverberg Foundation, the Thompson Family Foundation and public funds from The New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. 

Tuesday-Saturday, 11-6
508 West 26th Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10001





Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Micronesia with a Twist: The Prints of Paul Jacoulet

In my endless searches for unique and fabulous printmakers, I found a person I think everyone will appreciate. In the outter reaches of the South Pacific Ocean there was an artist of French origin who lived in Japan most of his life, and he travelled to little-known islands in Micronesia, Melanesia, Indonesia and Asia. Paul Jacoulet's art is a blend of East meets West, where two great artistic cultures of Japan and France collide.   His woodcuts are widely collected and represents the the pinnacle peak in technical accomplishment. 

Jacoulet, 1896-1960, was born in Paris, and was raised in Japan from the age of six when his family moved to Tokyo. At this time, Japan was still ruled by the Emperor and the Imperial Court.  Growing up in an elite Tokyo neighborhood, he attended fine Japanese private schools, becoming fluent in Japanese, French and English. His father, Frederic, was a university professor (ambassador) hired by the Japanese government to teach French to young aristocrats. Because of his father's privilege, Jacoulet traveled a lot. His mother supported his artistic activities and  because she believed that if French Polynesia was good enough for Paul Gauguin, then her son could do the same. She sent him away from Japan several times to islands in Micronesia, Indonesia, and the Philippines to observe their indigenous culture. 

A true renaissance man, Jacoulet was also an expert in Kabuki, proficient on traditional Japanese musical instruments, a good calligrapher,  and a recognized butterfly collector. He  studied a wide range of traditional Japanese arts. In a unique twist of fate, he was the next door neighbor of Ukiyoe authority Yone Noguchi; he was taught English by Noguchi's American wife, Leonie Gilmour, and befriended their son, the young Isamu Noguchi 

Jacoulet took a short-term position as an interpreter working for Tokyo's French Embassy in 1920. In 1929, he took his first trip to the South Seas and made sketches and took photographs of his travels, and two years later he worked with Shizuya Fujikake learning the craft of woodblock printmaking. In 1933, he established the Jacoulet Institute of Prints publishing his first woodblock print in 1934. He used special watermarked papers from Kyoto  instead of the normal Japanese washi paper. He made over 160 woodblock prints and oversaw their production, and once bragged to have used as many as 300 blocks for one print, (although one of his assistants thought that number was probably closer to 60.) All but one of his prints were self-published. Jacoulet's sense of color and delicacy is impressive. For people unfamillar to South Pacific cultures, his descriptions of the exoticism, peacefulness and gentle reverence for Nature is accurate. Very few artists have explored this region of the world, and there is much still to discover.

During World War II, he moved to Karuizawa, where he survived in the countryside by growing vegetables and raising poultry. During the occupation, at the request of General Douglas MacArthur, he was recruited by Commandant Charles McDowell to work at the Tokyo Army College. He stayed in Japan until his death in 1960, although he saw a sharp decline in sales of his art. Curiously, he did manage to sell his prints through subscription to US military personnel and retired military.

Generally regarded as one of the few western artists to have mastered the art of woodblock printing sufficiently to be recognized in Japan, Jacoulet’s works are almost all of people, either portraits or full body images capturing some background details. Best known for his portraits of the natives of Asia and the South Seas, he also made a substantial number of prints with subjects from China, Korea, all areas of Japan, and Mongolia. Surprisingly, only one print depicts an American subject. 

He followed in the collaborative tradition of ukiyo-e printmaking, recruiting the most talented carvers and printers who could duplicate the delicate lines of his drawings and watercolors. Unlike many other shin hanga publishers, he gave credit to his carvers and printers by including their names in the margins of his prints. He was also known for having extremely high standards for both carving and printing and would discard any prints whose impression was not perfect. He spared no expense in using the best quality materials, papers and pigments, including silver and gold, mica and other precious elements. Thus, his prints have a unique beauty and have survived the passage of time much better than many woodblock prints due to the quality of materials used.  

Jacoulet's works also interest anthropologists because his subject matter was mostly of indigenous people in their traditional dress. Today his work is often used as a basis for reconstructing indigenous groups to their ancestral roots.  His infatuation with South Pacific islands, Manchuria and Korea turned out favorably as Jacoulet was the only chronicler of small villages, and even whole islands, which have virtually disappeared.  Art historian Richard Miles believes Paul Jacoulet considered his works “serious attempts to depict a world that was not ‘floating’ in the widely accepted sense of transitory pleasure, but an actually dying world of rather sad, imperfect people, observed with merciless clarity.” 

On a side note…Jacoulet’s flamboyant homosexuality was reflected in his work.  As a sign of how times have changed, Jacoulet was once barred from entering the US due to his “undesirability” as a gay person. Undeterred, he dressed up in a white suit with a silver headed cane and walked into the US at Niagara Falls.

the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena (1983 and 1990)
the Yokohama Art Museum (1996 and 2003)
the Riccar Museum in Tokyo (1982)
the Isla Center for the Arts on Guam (1992 and 2006)
US Fifth Air Force sponsored an exhibit (1946)

Collectors: General MacArthur, Queen Elizabeth II, Greta Garbo, Pope Pius X1, President Truman, the British Museum and the Asia Pacific Museum. As a self-promoter, Jacoulet was without shame. He often sent prints to famous people to gain their attention and thus raise up his reputation. In fact, Mrs. Douglas MaArthur received an annual Christmas gift and his work hung in the General’s headquarters in Tokyo, and later at the Waldorf-Astoria

Note to all you wannabe collectors….many of Jacoulet’s prints are very rare because all of his work prior to WWII was destroyed by fire, except for what collectors took out of Japan.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Incredible Antonio Frasconi

Antonio Frasconi was born in 1919 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, but grew up   in Uruguay's capital, Montevideo, Uruguay, by parents of Italian   decent.  As a young boy, by the age of 12 he was already making images. He started out making copies of Mickey Mouse, but soon afterward he learned about printing and he drew political cartoons for newspapers.He was attracted to making multiple image so he could afford to keep his prices reasonable.

Frasconi loved Paul Gauguin's colorful work and le was enamored of American jazz music. In 1945, at the end of World War II, he moved to the United States and worked for a short time as a gardener at the Santa Barbara Museum of art. Soon afterward he earned a scholarship to attend the art Student's League in new York City. From there, he went to study at the New School of Research.

"For me, New York City was a place for living and learning the good and the bad," he said. In the early '50s, he met and married fellow artist Leona Pierce, who had also studied at the Art Students' League. The Frasconis left New York City in 1957, moving to the more sedate and peaceful Norwalk, after the birth of their second son, Miguel. Frasconi's sons are also artists: Miguel is a composer and glass harmonica musician, and Pablo, is a filmmaker, whose work includes a 1985 film, called "The Woodcuts of Antonio Frasconi." 

By the 1950’s, Frasconi was recognized as one of America’s foremost pintmakers. His woodcuts are concerned with social and political issues for a long time. His bold and forceful images addressed the atrocities of the Vietnam and Iraq wars. One of his greatest and most personal projects was a series of prints called Los Desparacidos, or the Disappeared. It was about the thousands of men and women who had been victims of the brutal dictatorships of Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s. This project further  fueled his interest to pursue making images about social protest and he continued to do so. Sometimes brutal in their clarity or making a quiet but pointed comment on the plight of migrant workers toiling day and night to bring in the crops, Frasconi was not shy when it came to his opinions.

Antonio Frasconi, remained a resident of Norwalk, still printmaking. His studio overlooked one of the beautiful coastal salt marshes in Norwalk, Connecticut, and captured the patterns and colors of the grasses and estuaries, the tidal flats, the waterfowl and flocks of migratory birds, and the sky. 

Frasconi's color combinations are like watching music, they are at times jazzy, vibrant, then muted. Later in his career, he became closely in tune with Nature and its ebb and flow of the tides,  seasonal color changes and nuances of the Norwalk landscape.

As an educator, he taught art at School of Art and Design at SUNY Purchase for 35 years. Frasconi also taught art at the Rowayton Art Center in the 1960s. By then, he was a well- established graphic artist, whose prints were a recognizable visual commentary for contemporary political and social issues.One of Frasconi's former students, Norwalk resident Virginia Bates,  said of his courses, "It was wonderful. It was the most stimulating class I ever took."

For the past 50 years or so, the landscape around Frasconi's home in Norwalk's Village Creek community, have found their place amongst the artist's prints. The print to the right here represents his observations well. Men are quietly going about their business, hoping their efforts will prove fruitful.... As to why he was attracted to woodcuts, Frasconi said it was difficult to answer. His approach to making prints was always by instinct more organic and painterly. The artist said his later work glorifies the landscape, yet he feels the encroachment of development and time changing the natural surroundings to something more suburban.

One understands he means that twofold, where the natural environment is lovely and peaceful, but the mark of man is inescapable. Kirk said that although Frasconi's earlier body of work is known for its political commentary, his most recent works depict more peaceful themes of nature. Filled with beauty and tranquility, the prints convey marshlands and tidal rivers as viewed from his home."They depict the wetlands of South Norwalk, a stone's throw from his studio windows, as they merge into the distance with the waters of Long Island Sound. This scene is always transforming, and the prints on view change with the seasons as the migrating birds fly across these landscapes/seascapes.
Awards and Accolades:
Art Student’s league – 1945
Guggenheim Foundation award – 1952
U.S. postage stamp  - 1963, honoring the centennial of the National Arts and Sciences
Represented Uuguay at the 1968 Venice Biennale
Distinguished teaching Professor of Visual Arts at SUNY, Purchase – 1982
Illustrator and designer of over 100 children’s books
Artwork published in magazines, a and various album covers.
Artwork in cluded in the follwoing public collections:
Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Public Library, the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian Institute

Saturday, March 9, 2013

2013 Summer Workshops at the Womens' Studio Workshop

 I am pleased to bring to your attention a place for women printmakers to work in The Women's Studio Workshop, in upstate New York. It  has been around for quite a while, providing artists from around the world a place to work, take classes, rent studio time and spend time in a residency developing their craft.  Th following infomation can be seen ontheir website, and they have a full range of workshops being offered this summer. Registration has already begun, so check it out and see if you can get yourselves to a beautiful spot for the summer to absorb some nature and enjoy the pleasantries of small town Binnewater, NY.
Women's Studio Workshop's Binnewater Arts Facility today.
The History of Women’s Studio Workshop
Women’s Studio Workshop was founded in 1974 by four women artists, Ann Kalmbach, Tatana Kellner, Anita Wetzel, and Barbara Leoff Burge. 
Binnewater Arts Center
Artists coming to WSW workshops from out-of-town will find themselves in the former hamlet of Binnewater, once a thriving cement mining community located in the foothills of the Shawangunk Mountains in the Hudson River Valley of NY. In 1983, WSW moved into the Binnewater Arts Center (BAC). The BAC is a historic building that was once the Rosendale Cement Company Store and Post Office.
Artist GrantsResidenciesthe Summer Art Institute, and Internships have become the basis of their professional programs attracting artists from around the world.
Women’s Studio Workshop has an artist-centered philosophy and a deep commitment to the individual’s creative process. We support this vision through providing time and space where artists can come to work with 24-hour access to the studios, onsite and adjacent housing and technical advice and support.
A WSW Residency is supported by our technical and artistic staff that is readily available to coach, train, and assist artists on all aspects of their projects. This active engagement allows artists to work across mediums, integrating new processes and materials into their work, and to gain new levels of mastery in specific disciplines.
Artists’ Books Residency Grant: 6-8 week residency for an artist to produce a limited edition artist’s book. learn more >
Art-in-Education Book Arts Residency Grant: 8-10 week residency focused on creating a limited edition artist’s book, while also working with students during our Art-in-Education program. learn more >
Legacy Artists Residency Grant: 6 weeks working in any printmaking studio to create a new body of work. learn more >
Ora Schneider Residency Grant for Regional Artists: month long residencies for regionally based artists. learn more >
Studio Residency Grant: 6-8 weeks working in any of WSW’s studio areas to create a new body of work. learn more >
Elizabeth Thomasetti, artist-in-residence working in WSW's etching studio
Women’s Studio Workshop’s workspace opportunities are partially subsidized residencies that provide concentrated work time for artists to explore new ideas or a new process or media and to interact with other professional artists. Selected artists have unlimited access to the studios and housing. A $200/week fee is charged.
Art-In-Education Workspace Residency:  This five week teaching-based reduced fee residency is for artists who work in intaglio, silkscreen, or hand papermaking. Artists receive a reduced fee OR a free residency to work on their own project and teach onsite with local public school students. learn more >
Beisinghoff Printmaking Residency in Germany: A 4 week printmaking residency in Diemelstadt-Rhoden, Germany. learn more >
Chili Bowl Workspace Residency: WSW offers a limited number of special residences with a reduced fee for potters who make bowls for the annual WSW Chili Bowl Fiesta Fundraiser. learn more >

Women’s Studio Workshop offers a variety of classes for artists at any level of experience. Our Summer Arts Institute offers a variety of classes focusing on new techniques in hand papermaking, printmaking, book arts and related media. Artists come from around the country to participate in three to five day intensive workshops. WSW also presents private instruction in any one of our studio areas.
WSW maintains intaglio, screen print, letterpress, papermaking, studios  The studios are extensively equipped and well-maintained. Artists can take workshops, rent the studios, schedule private classes, or apply for grant or fellowship opportunities. You are welcome to visit the studios before arranging work-time or signing up for workshops, please call ahead.
Women's Studio Workshop etching studio
Rather than use traditional acids to etch plates, Women’s Studio Workshop uses non-toxic materials; Ferric chloride for copper and salt etch for aluminum and zinc. They generally stock copper and aluminum plates, along with a selection of fine print papers and handmade papers.
Etching Studio Equipment List
  • 1200 sq. ft. studio space
  • 2 Charles Brand Press, 30″ x 50″ and 26″ x 48″
  • 18″ x 22″ viscosity rollers
  • Separate ventilated acid room with a 4’ x 29” workspace with stainless sink
  • Hot plate 20”x 24”
  • Flexible shaft rotary tool
  • 18”x24” vertical tank with Ferric Chloride
  • Etching trays up to 25”x30”
  • Drying rack 30”x46”
  • Drying press 28”x42”
  • Glass top inking table 26”x8’
  • Photopolymer platemaking capacity up to 23”x29”
Rent the Studios
Rates include basic materials. Inks and paper for editioningare the responsibility of the artist. Chris Petrone, WSW’s Studio Manager provides a general introduction for using the studio and is available to help with basic technical questions. For advanced technical assistance, there is a $50 per hour fee (one hour minimum) in addition to the regular studio rental rate. Studio rental rates are based on $14/hour or $10/hour for members. To schedule a studio rental, contact manager Chris or call WSW.
Reduced studio rental rates for members interested in working for extended periods in Silkscreen, Papermaking, Darkroom, or Intaglio are:
  • 3 consecutive days $225
  • 4 consecutive days $310
  • 5 consecutive days $380
  • 6 consecutive days $450
  • 7 consecutive days $530
Call WSW at 845.658.9133 for more information
Women’s Studio Workshop  |  P.O. Box 489 Rosendale, NY 12472 845.658.9133

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The vanGogh of South Africa: Phillemon Hlungwani

Phillemon Hlungwani was born in 1975, in Giyani, Thomo Village, in Limpopo and now lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa. He comes from a family of artists, and says that ‘art chose him’. He works in a variety of printmaking mediums, and also draws with charcoal. He attributes his mother as the impetus for his career, because she gave him charcoal from the hearth in their home. He says of his female subjects: ‘In my art I used to depict women that symbolized my mother. She is the one who encouraged me to make art. The women in my art are shown working because they are equal’.

Hlungwani work expresses his Christian and cultural beliefs. He feels a strong spiritual connection towards trees as a place for prayer and worshipping them, so trees are often represented in his work. His work often depicts the Tsengelendotwe tree found in his environment. It bears a fruit which they would mix with the fresh milk from the herd and drink as a milkshake. His landscape images refer to self, family and his cultural history.

Utilizing his upbringing to inform his work via traditional customs and cultural practices of his community, Hlungwani draws images of himself as a young herdboy tending the family goats. He understands the bushveld landscape intimately from his early years and he depicts scenes of small town life and a hard work ethic as few artists can or want to experience it for themselves. 

As a point of comparison, the ‘plein aire’ painters of the Barbizon School, and the French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists understood suffering and toiling under the sun to paint their pictures. Yet, theirs was a point of observation –something not a part of their own experience. Hlungwani, very much in the same vein as Vincent vanGogh did with his drawings of the miners and potato farmers, shows us a way of life for the people from his village. He shows us the quiet moments crossing town with one’s good for the market, or a child following its mother to and from town. He shows us the family working together , tilling their fields and trying to raise a decent crop to feed the clan. 

Hlungwani’s depictions of the living conditions of his people - ramshackled clapboard homes in a hot, dry country, sting with a sense of poverty, and cultural awareness, for we understand that the artist describes a current situation in South Africa, not some quaint historical telling of a time long past. These renditions of South African life are are minder that the world hasn’t entirely caught up to a 21st century standard of high-tech living. The town may be poor, but they are unified in their existence and look to be at peace and accept their existence as being what God intended for them. There is a quiet working of the land and one feels as if we were looking at one of Paul Gauguin’s rural Normandy-inspired pictures.

Still the curious thing in Hlungwani’s work isn’t the subject as much as what’s going on around the subject. He fills his skies and compositions with swirling dotted lines and circular arcs that surround the people walking to work; creating a dance of lines that equally encircle a tree in a field and a woman carrying a basket on her head. The abstractions of these lines activate his compositions in a way we are not used to seeing. It’s as though the marks could be a preliminary method the artist uses to begin drawing his subjects, but they are left in the picture, not erased or cut out of it, so they must have more significance than originally thought.

They could be trails of flies or bugs surrounding the subjects or maybe they have something to do with the state of chaos that surrounds us all. They could be that and more, but they would appear to be something ‘other’ than what one sees in this earthly realm. They would appear to be  traceries of some human presence or spirit, some soul that surrounds the subject – letting us know , as we see in Tintoretto’s ‘Last Supper’, that there is more in our daily realm if we but look for it.

His work effortlessly segues between media showing a mature vision. His work is deceptively simple and drawn with tenderness, still there is a sinewy strength to his line which so perfectly suits his subject and the results are astoundingly direct and sensitive.

Hlungwani is a young artist well on his way to becoming a promising star  as he gains critical attention. South Africa has a notable printmaking tradition, and has produced many fine artists that mainly show within the country, but Hlungwani’s work speaks about his roots and beyond his cultural borders with his life-sized prints. They are accomplished,  impressive and ambitious. Hlungwani has started to exhibit his work outside of South Africa and one senses that this artist will make as fine a mark as vanGogh did with his drawing s and the spiritual component present in his Starry Night. Hlungwani is generous with his time and teaches and encourages younger artists to pursue their dreams. He is a printmaking gem that will grow more brilliant with time and prestige.

            Johannesburg Art Foundation, 2000
            Artist Proof Studio printmaking certificate, 2000.
            WITS School of Art, 2004
            Murals for the Johannesburg Development Agency,  South African Governmental            
            offices, MTN,The Standard Bank Art Gallery, Bell Dewar and Hall.
            King Korn competition winner, 2000-2001
            Finalist for the Absa Gallery competition
            Ampersand Fellowship, 2009
Professional Experience: 
            Coordinator and facilitator of APS professional artists program
            Teacher of papermaking
            Facilitator of Paper Prayers workshops
            Coordinator of NOAH’s arks art teaching project