“I’m interested in printing processes, tools and history…typography, signage, ephemera… fossils… specimens, collecting piles of rock…” Laura Kinneberg, artist/educator in Washington, D.C., whose subject matter and refined attention to detail in her prints, combining silkscreen and letterpress, garnered her First Prize in The 9th Biennial International Miniature Print Exhibition (above, left:Fluorite (2013), Silkscreen & letterpress, 2” x 2”), on view through September 1, 2013, at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking (the Center). Laura received her M.F.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and is an artist, designer and instructor who teaches papermaking and letterpress at the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center. She has exhibited her work in the mid-Atlantic region, in Ohio and in New Zealand since 2003. artes fine arts magazine
A Plenitude of Prints
Be prepared to take a world tour in microcosm, when visiting the Center this summer, an art atelier and gallery, situated in historic building within the beautifully green Mathews Park, in Norwalk, Connecticut. From across the pond, down under, from the Pacific Rim, out of India, and from the United States, professional artist/printmakers submit tiny images that allow the viewer a world tour of different cultures and sensibilities. Small compositions, four square inches or less, successfully convey necessarily simple concepts using the technically diverse and difficult mediums that make up the practice of printmaking.
View intaglio and digital prints, collagraphs, mezzotints, wood engravings, woodcuts, silkscreens, edition prints, monotypes and monoprints, and chine collé; all well executed and impeccably framed and presented. The range of techniques, styles and subjects executed for this biennial challenge is varied and compelling, from the simplicity of the line etchings by Second Prize Winner, V. Saravana Ragavan (India), Form I (2013), left, etching, 2” x 1 7/8”, to the complexity of the rubber stamp and collage work of Nicci Haynes (Australia), below, right. Artist V. Saravana Ragavan received his M.V.A. in Painting from the M.M.K. College of Visual Art, Gulbarga University, Karnataka India in 2006. He has shown his work in solo and national shows since 2002, and has received numerous awards for his art. Nicci Haynes dresses the part, taking time-release photos of his calisthenics in a hand-designed suit and quips “I am my etchings”, incorporating his figure into his prints.
Pick up a magnifying glass, and enjoy the details of these little worlds. Third Prize Winner Anne Desmet (England) an established artist member of London’s Royal Academy of Arts since 2011, offers intricate wood engravings of London in black and white. Anne was editor of Printmaking Today for 15 years, and her work is in museum collections and publications worldwide. Josef Werner (Germany), a painter, printmaker and sculptor, who studied with Professor K. F. Dahmen at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts from 1970-1975, shows multi-color etchings of the four elements, each of which won Honorable Mention. His 4 Elements – Water also received the Legion Paper Purchase Award. Printmaker and Book Artist Eugeniya Hristova (Italy), who specializes in etching, drypoint, and handset typography, explores the mysterious botanicals in her etchings with chine collé. Zdenek Bugan (Slovakia), a painter who keeps a journal of daily sketches, started printmaking in the 1980’s, originally concentrating on etching and now works in all intaglio media. His Microdrame No. 1 (2013), an etching with aquatint, is on view at the Center.
Miniature Print Exhibition History
The 9th Biennial International Miniature Print Exhibition has been in existence since the early 1990’s. It starts with a competition, a challenge to artists around the world to produce images no more than 4 square inches in size. The biennial competition has become so popular among printmakers and aficionados of the miniature print that images are often received even before the call for entries is sent out. The call for entries is sent via e-mail almost 9 months before the exhibition opens, to galleries, schools, print centers, arts organizations, educational institutions, individual artists and a number of consulates around the world.
Jurying the Exhibition and Beyond
The Center designates a new juror to review and select the works for each exhibition. Artists compete to be considered for First ($500), Second ($300), and Third ($200) Prize. This year, over 300 artists from 30 countries submitted work for consideration in the Miniature Print Competition. Juror Jan Howard, Curator of Prints, Drawing and Photographs at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art reviewed over 800 images, and selected 237 images—the works of 131 artists—for inclusion in the exhibition. Fifteen prints, including 6 which received Honorable Mention, received Purchase Awards from art supply corporations in the area including Akua Water-based Inks; Atlantic Papers; fourwindsfineart.com; Graphic Chemical & Ink, Co.; Jerry’s Artarama; Legion Paper; McLain’s Printmaking Supplies; Renaissance Graphic Arts, Inc.; Speedball Art Products; Takash Press Corporation; and the CCP Artistic Director Purchase Award.
The seven portfolio binders that comprise the Salon des Refusés display 600 other remarkable prints that were submitted, but not selected by the juror for exhibition. All works are original prints, and all must be for sale. The prints range in price from $25.00 to $425.00.
A Printmaking Atelier and Gallery
Built in the 19th century as the carriage house for the Lockwood Family, the interesting granite stone building at 299 West Avenue was part of ‘The Mathews Estate’ and later housed the Town of Norwalk police department. In 1995, Rowayton resident Grace Shanley and many prominent artists, friends, and associates, transformed the building, now a 5,000 square foot historical landmark, into a printmaking atelier and gallery that retains the character and charm of the original building.
The Center for Contemporary Printmaking [the Center] quickly became the professional resource in the area for artists/printmakers and collectors, and an educational resource and gallery for all visitors. There is much for visitors to see and do at the Center, a non-profit 501c(3) organization dedicated to the art of the original print: intaglio, lithography, monotype, silkscreen, woodblock printing, paper works, book arts, and digital arts. The art gallery on the premises features a rotating schedule of at least five major print exhibitions throughout the year showcasing “. . . periodic exhibitions of such intelligence and quality that they rival the offerings at museums with far more substantial budgets and staff . . .” (The New York Times). The Biennial Footprint International Print Exhibition occurs on even numbered years and the Biennial International Miniature Print Exhibition takes place on odd numbered years, and there is an annual exhibition for printmakers who are members of the Center. Open to the public seven days a week, the gallery has free admission, and is handicapped accessible.
The casual visitor can tour the studios, take a workshop, or watch artists make fine art prints. Over 70 printmaking workshops are offered to the public annually, taught by well known printmaking artists and educators. Workshops vary in length, and some half-day workshops are perfect for participants who want to drop by and create a print during an afternoon. When studios are not hosting workshops, they are generally occupied by artist/members pursuing independent printmaking projects.
An artist can contact the Center to work on a printmaking project, or collaborate with a professional printer to produce prints. A Master Printer and an Associate Printer are on staff to accommodate the growing demand for editioning services. The caretaker’s cottage behind the carriage house holds a printmaking studio and apartment for artists-in-residence. High school and college internship positions are available over the summer, and member volunteer opportunities are available throughout the year.
For collectors of the fine print, the Center for Contemporary Printmaking has an archive of original prints for sale on line at www.contemprints.org, or by making an appointment to view artwork in person. Each year, The Editions Club “Mystery Print” is an opportunity to subscribe to a limited edition print by a world renowned artists. Each November, the annual MONOTHON fundraiser auctions original prints in an exciting fun filled evening that supports the Center’s outreach efforts.
The Center collaborates with local elementary schools, high schools, and colleges to offer printmaking to young artists. Artists’ talks, open house days, tours for educational and museum groups, and senior citizen centers, are all components of the Center’s community outreach. The Center for Contemporary Printmaking is a member of the statewide Connecticut Art Trail, a partnership of fifteen world-class museums and historic sites, www.arttrail.org, and is also a member of the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County, www.fcbuzz.org.
The Center for Contemporary Printmaking is the only facility of its kind between New York and Boston, a congregating place for creativity, and a unique gem in the Norwalk, a city situated on the Connecticut shore. All programs are described on the website at www.contemprints.org. The Center is open Monday through Saturday, 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. and Sunday, 12:00 to 5:00 P.M., Telephone: (203) 899-7999. Visitors are always welcome.
By Renée A. Santhouse, Contributing Writer
After September 1 2013, the exhibition travels to the Bendheim Gallery in the Greenwich Arts Center, in Greenwich, Connecticut, where it will be on view December 2013 – January 2014.
Renée A. Santhouse, M.A., Fine Art Printmaking, is Communications Manager for the Center for Contemporary Printmaking (Center) http://www.contemprints.org. She recently curated the 2nd Annual Connecticut Printmakers Invitational there. A practicing artist, Renée has had numerous solo and group exhibitions of her artwork, specializing in printmaking, book arts, and painting en plein air. Her art is privately collected, in the United States and Europe.