Sunday, October 30, 2016

Traveling the World with Max Pollack's Prints

Max Pollack's prints give us a sense of the world, and the similarity one can find in places close to home, or far away. I was attracted to an initial elegance and clunky-ness of his work. I do not mean the way Pollack draws, but there is something about the way he composes his images that one sees a well-lived in look to the buildings and street scenes. The way he colors the prints also has something to do with this, but I am most reminded of 19th c. prints of European cities and the cobblestones streets- an intimacy he finds in a cluster of shops.
Whether he chooses to show a mission church in San Francisco, or a skyscraper in New York, Pollack draws with an assurance for architecture. He gives us a glimpse into what attracted him on his numerous travels to Europe.
Pollack shows us buildings that have weathered the test of time, which tilting church bell towers and buildings that look like they are sagging and leaning into one another - like an older couple walking down a street who lean on one another for support. The buildings cannot survive without one another, and that makes them all the more appealing.

There are some loose connections one can draw to other urban artists like John Marin, though Marin's work is more Cubistic and fragmented. Pollack is tied to describing his subjects and the grandeur he sees in these urban settings. People are de-emphasized as we are supposed to look at the architecture - whether quaint or grand. I am pleased to see these works and wonder if I took a trip that I would find the same buildings in the same condition he described them. I would want to.

Max Pollak (1886-1970) was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia. His family later moved to Vienna, where he entered the Vienna Academy of Art. In 1912, he traveled to Italy, France, and Holland to continue his studies. During the World War I, he was appointed painter for the Austrian Army.

He immigrated to the U.S. in 1927, living in both New York and San Francisco where he traveled and produced a series of prints. He later traveled to Mexico and Guatemala.

During his career, Pollack produced over 500 prints, for which he won numerous awards.

California Society of Etchers
Chicago Society of Etchers
Prix de Rome

Public Collections:
Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts
British Museum
de Young Memorial Museum
Judah L. Magnes Museum
Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York Public Library
Oakland Museum of California Art
Princeton University
Smithsonian American Art Museum

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Peter Jogo's Prints of Indulgence

Okay, I am gonna say it. It isn’t fair! Man, how does Peter Jogo do it? The guy’s work is outstanding, even in a field of outstandingly great printmakers. The richness of his textures, and lights and darks, and the close-up way he gets to a still life subject, and then the way he pans back down a small town night time street scene – with the lone street light illuminating the composition. Well, it can make even a veteran printmaker want to cry.

I was enthralled with his Monopoly player pieces, but I truly love his landscapes and their skies. The work translates superbly in black and white, and in color. It’s a good thing he doesn’t do painting, because landscape painters would commit harikari.

Jogo understands his subjects well, and has a real feel for the landscape found in Pennsylvania. It is quiet, reflective and peaceful. The night time scenes accurately portray the life in a small town and one can imagine that the crickets are humming in the shadows. These small print indulgences are treasures in time, and serenity.

Jogo’s prints capture the silence and stillness in both rural and urban landscapes. Many of the settings for his night time landscapes is the town where he lives in Pennsylvania. With his masterful use of subtle tones, set against strong, deep shadows, this artist develops his evocative, velvety black compositions. No matter the setting, Jogo's prints create inviting spaces for us to pause and reflect.

The same is true for his uniquely intriguing micro prints of Monopoly boards and pieces. These prints sing with assurance and masterful technical prowess. The close ups on these pieces are stunningly real and the pieces’ cast reflections onto the Monopoly board are terrific. Truly, the artist is reveling in his craft. It is dumbfounding how well these pieces are portrayed. We should all strive to find more of Jogo’s work online and in galleries. He is out there, and any of his works would be a gem for your print collection.

Peter Jogo was born in Deposit, New York, (a small town east of Binghamton, NY). He studied first at the State University of New York at Albany, then went on to receive his Master of Fine Arts degree from Cornell University. He currently lives and works in Pennsylvania.

Jogo has received several awards, namely a Strathmore Award for Watercolor Excellence from the Butler Institute of American Art, purchase awards from the Pratt Graphics Center, DeCordova Museum, North Carolina Print and Drawing Society, the Print Club of Philadelphia, and the University of Wisconsin.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Paul Landacre's Print Masterpieces

This printmaker will make everyone drool over his work, my friends. Honestly, the impulse to go "Ooooooo" can't be helped. The man's work is just superb. The person in question here is Paul Landacre. He was a Midwestern transplant to the west coast, and his prints of landscapes, or figures or still lifes are things of beauty. I defer to your viewing pleasure......

Paul Hambleton Landacre (1893-1963) was born in Columbus, Ohio. He was a part of the Southern California artistic Renaissance between the world wars and is regarded as one of the outstanding printmakers of the modern era. Landacre developed a singular style of meticulously-carved lines, and delicate cross-hatching. Many of his prints were inspired by the American West, including the hills and mountains of Big Sur, Palm Springs, Monterey, and Berkeley. The work is rich and velvety black with ink. His lines caress the contour of the Californian landscape with grace and simplicity.

Landacre attended Ohio State University until he was suddenly afflicted by an illness. To recuperate, he moved to Chula Vista, California, where he started to walk around and draw the hilly California terrain. In 1922, he moved to Los Angeles to attend the Otis Art Institute. He worked as a commercial illustrator, but became enamored with the printmaking process and devoted himself entirely to the medium from then onward. The result, no surprise, was that Landacre became one of the country’s pre-eminent printmakers.

Landacre taught art at the University of Southern California, Otis Art Institute and the Kahn Institute and held memberships in the California Society of Etchers, California Print Makers Society, American Society of Wood Engravers, and the American Society of Etchers, Gravers, Lithographers and Woodcutters. His prints were included in numerous exhibitions, including the 1939 New York World’s Fair, and are illustrated in numerous books on American printmaking. His work can be found in more than a hundred and fifty public collections throughout the United States.

In March 2006, with the growing appreciation of Landacre's artistic significance, his home was declared a City of Los Angeles landmark (Historic Cultural Monument No. 839). Landacre's papers and many of his original blocks and prints are found at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library at UCLA.

Public Collections:
Boston Museum of Fine Arts
Library of Congress
Los Angeles Public Library
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Oakland Museum
New York Public Library
Philadelphia Museum
San Francisco, Achenbach Foundation for the Graphic Arts
Seattle Museum
Smithsonian Institute of American Art

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Eunice Kim's Universal Prints

South Korea’s Eunice Kim creates minimal images that transcend forms and bisected shapes to describe universal messages and symbols of a microbial biomorphic world. Her images of circles and ovals, sometimes cross-cut and overlapped, look like things we would find in a petri dish or under a microscope. Yet, there is a flat, symbolic reference to the circle, the rejuvenation of life, or the cycles of Nature that come ‘round to remind us life goes onward.

Kim’s work is pretty straightforward, using singular black ink with warm toned paper, and despite the formality of the work, the viewer’s engagement with it is personal. Additionally, these images could easily translate to a grander scale, but they are just as effective on the intimate scale she chooses for us to see.

The artist uses tessellated tiles in some of her newer series. As defined in the dictionary, a tessellation is the tiling of a plane using one or more geometric shapes, with no overlaps or gaps. In mathematics, tessellations can be generalized to higher dimensions and a variety of geometries. It can have a repeating pattern. Historically, tessellations were used in Ancient Rome and in Islamic art such as in the decorative tiling of the Alhambra palace. The work of M. C. Escher often used tessellations for artistic effect. Tessellations are also sometimes used for decorative effect in quilting.

Kim’s images use the tessellation loosely, and there is a broken effect of her circles being fragmented and collaged together again. They feel like people passing each other in a crowded termination at the airport, or on the subway train. They appear as ghosts of faces that pass before us as we rush on with our day. We can retain only a fragmentary portion of what we see. The memories of those faces will have to suffice as we proceed with our lives. Kim currently lives and works in the Seattle, Washington area.

San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
California State University Long Beach, CA

Puffin Foundation West Grant, Puffin Foundation West, Columbus, OH
Tacoma Arts Commission, City of Tacoma, WA
Guanlan International Print Biennial, Guanlan Art Museum, Shenzhen, China
Frans Masereel Center, Kasterlee, Belgium
Individual Artist Grant, Arts Council for Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
Fellowship Award, Kala Art Institute, Berkeley, CA

Public Collections:
Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, AR
California State University, Long Beach, CA
Frans Masereel Center, Kasterlee, Belgium
Guanlan Original Printmaking Base, Shenzhen, China
Kala Art Institute Print Archive, Berkeley, CA
Kohler Art Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI
Museum of Contemporary Graphic Arts, Cairo, Egypt
National Library of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain
Southern Graphics Council Print Collection and Archives, Oxford, MA