Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Limerick Printmakers

When I go back to Ireland, I'm going to visit the Limerick Printmakers printshop. Unfortunately, it looks like they are not offering any workshops while I'll be there. I'm looking forward to meeting the founders of the shop, and seeing what Irish printmakers are up to, and what they are thinking about. I mostly am looking for advice on opening up a printshop.

In July 1999 Limerick Printmakers was set up by three BA printmaking graduates from the Limerick School of Art and Design, Claire Boland, Kari Fry and Melissa O’Brien. Limerick City Enterprise Board gave Limerick Printmakers a start up grant in the form of Irl £12,000 to buy equipment and cover initial overheads.

Considerable support came from numerous people and organisations including the Printmaking Department at Limerick School of Art and Design (L.I.T.), Des Mac Mahon, Dietrich Blodau, Charles Harper; Mary Parkes at the Limerick Adult Education Centre; Cork Printmakers; The Graphic Studio; The Blackchurch Print Studio; Limerick Network Enterprise; Sheila Deegan, Limerick City Council; and Joe Buckley, owner of the premises.

In 2003 Limerick Printmakers received their first revenue funding from the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaion. This revenue funding has been continued and increased in 2004 with an additional minor capital grant for equipment and again increased in 2005.

Yosemite and Tofurky

Thanksgiving was great this year. Yosemite National Park is just beautiful. It was so great to get out of the city and and spend time in the wilderness just being. My most favorite part of the trip was hiking up to Vernal waterfall. It was a very steep and busy trail, but when I got to the top, it was just breathtaking. The most fun part was when Tim and I climbed across the rocks at the opening of the waterfall to the otherside. We climbed off trail up the side of a mountain and ate our lunch in the sun.
It was a great time for Tim and I to take time out and talk about our relationship and reminisce about fun times. We will be going back again in the spring next year to do some more hiking. The only problem was when we got back, my mischevious little cat wrecked the apartment. Everything was knocked off the shelves, plants were spilling out of their pots, papers and books were chewed...just a great big mess. All I could do was laugh. It was pretty funny. Oh, yes I also had my first ever Tofurky. It was fine, but it just tasted like a ball of stuffing. Thanksgiving is a great holiday. It's great that families just get together for a grand dinner without the gifts and commercialization of other holidays.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Going Home

It's official; I'm going to Ireland December 13 for a whole month. I'm so excited because I have not been to Ireland for Christmas since I was very young. I'm hoping my parents will have a house by then. So far I got a message from my mom saying something about cows inhabiting a house they were interested in. I'm more excited to go back this time because there is so much more that I want to do than ever before. I've been reading these two books

Saints, scholars, and Schizophrenics: Mental Illness in Rural Ireland
by Nancy Scheper-Hughes

This book is so funny yet very sad. It's the study of a small Irish village in the 1970's not to far from where I grew up. The author is an American woman who tells tales about her and her families experience as an outsider in a very strick, small Catholic run village. A lot of the problems she comes across are issues that I have faced as a teenage "wannabe" yankee being brought up at home with the strict Irish Catholic 1970's values of my parents which never made sense to me. I wouldn't have minded but for the fact that my dad was an aetheist all of my childhood, but then along with moving to a new country somehow he adapted the Catholic faith. The only way he knew how to practice being a Catholic was from the insane rules he had as a child in the 1960's. Those are the rules he stuck to all through my adolescent "fun" years. The other problem is that during our absence from Ireland, Ireland was developing and evolving into a different Ireland. An island less on the ball and chain of the church and more on the road to a greater richer Ireland. So a lot has changed. If I had stayed in Ireland my family would have evolved along with others of their generation and not held on to these time capsuled ways. Although, I'm pretty sure if I had stayed in Ireland I would be knocked up with three kids by now, and a husband with no job. I think I'll take the troubled teenage years I had and live with it. So this brings me to the other book I am reading.

A just Society?
Edited by John Scally

It is a book with a bunch of essays on the ethics and values in contemporary Ireland. These essays are written by the best scholars in Ireland, and they pose a lot of difficult questions. If you have been reading my blog, you will have remembered my interest in Irelands new identity, and the problems it is creating. Although I am pleased Ireland is not run by the Catholic church I feel like a lot of problems are occuring because there is not any other value system being put in place. It is so hard to read newspapers about my countries problems with drugs, suicides, alcohol abuse, murders, racism, vandalism, and the such. It's difficult to see sprawling new houses being build and the landscape/enviroment not being taken care of. But on the good side more children are able to go to college, more people have health care, people own their own houses, better wages, communities are getting a face lift, more employment.....and this is where the debate comes in. How can the good things combat the bad??? It's a very interesting book.
When I go back, I want to observe what I have read for myself and apply it to my art. I'm also very interested in folk tales and am wondering how society can learn the from their olf folk tales, as they have learned from the Catholic values on how to live a just life. My thoughts seem a little jumbled right now, and probably don't make sense, but it will become more clear with time.

"You can tell a good man by how he treat his horse."

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Kiki Smith and Chuck Close

Yesturday I went to the SFMOMA and saw Chuck Close and Kiki Smith. They were at the museum to sign their books. I was so excited that day. The book I ordered online "Prints, Books, and Things" did not come this past week, so I bought a different book that goes along with her exhibit at SFMOMA. The line was about two hours(?) long, but I waited only half an hour because a woman came through the line asking for people who only needed Kiki Smith to sign the book. Most people were there for Chuck Close and it made me think a bit about the commercialization of art. His art was on posters everywhere all over San Francisco. I enjoy Chuck Close, but I can relate more to Kiki Smith. Anyway's the woman took me passed everyone and straight up to Kiki Smith. All of a sudden I felt like I had stage fright and time slowed down considerably. After she signed my book I sat down in a chair in front of both of them, and took a load of pictures. It was exciting, am I a nerd or what? After sitting there for a while staring at them, I left and went to the exhibit. I've never seen Kiki's work in real life, and was amazed at her work. The space was just perfect and I walked smoothly through the exhibit taking time to look really close at her prints. Most of her work was sculptural which is what she became famous for. I must say her work is much better in real life than in a book. I was drawn to the loose way in which her paper works were displayed. A lot of her work is printed on handmade japanese paper and just hangs off the wall. So soft and delicate, but her work was layered with heavy content. I enjoyed the sculptural bits which were on the floor infront of the prints. It was just so great to be there.
This was a Chuck Close piece that I enjoyed looking at. It shows his process of printing a nine plate color etching. The top row goes from pink to brown. The bottom row is each color plate printed in succession. Each plate was just a bunch of scribbles which in the end turned out to be a color portrait of Chuck Close. It was fascinating to me. I did get tired of Chuck Closes work by the end and went back to Kiki Smith's work to see anything that I might have missed. After looking at thier work, I went through the rest of the museum and was happy to come across Frida Kahlo's work. There is not very much of her work in Europe. Also, I saw a Chris Ofili painting which was exciting. I tried to smell the elephant dung, but it didn't smell at all. I left the museum feeling exciting and full of ideas.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Double Elephant Printshop

I've never mentioned my dream before. I guess I had it nestled in my heart now for so long and daydream way too much about it. A couple years ago, I was lucky enough to stumble upon Double Elephant printshop while I was working in the South of England. It was the first printshop I had experienced outside of a university setting. I knew exactly at that time of my life that I wanted to commit myself to printmaking. It was the humblest of places I have ever been to in my life. If you know me well, you know that being humble, living humble is an important part of my life. It's a trait I have always admired. Simon and Lynn were the two founders of the shop...the most honest to goodness people I have ever met. I immediatley fell in love with the way they lived. The printshop was nestled in the back alley of a cobbled street. The building was two stories tall and made out of old red brick built by a crippling old man who had eighteen kids. The door was made out of wood, and if you peeked between the cracks real close you could just see the beginnings of a press. Going in through the doors you immediatley get hit by a musty smell, and that old recognisable smell of sweating paper and chemicals, but chemicals of a different sort. The shop happens to be an environmentally friendly printshop where rosin is replaced by acrylic medium, asphaltum is replaced by floor wax, and dirty dutch mordant replaced my ferric chloride. Strange new smells and strange new techniques. What captured me the most about Simon and Lynn was their commitment for reaching the community. This printshop was small and humble, but it spread its energy to other places such as schools, nursing homes, disabled people. This was the answer to all my questions...what good is art??? why do we need it??? am I wasting my time??? No, I am not wasting my time, art matters to people. I still believe that the properties of art come from a mysterious place. Such a dreamer...a silly dreamer. Anyways, this is my goal. I want to open my own printshop (with a little help from a friend(s)?) and give to the community. I often get very frustrated with public school art programs especially in the elementary level. As a kid I was so lucky to have great teachers who encouraged my learning process through creating objects, drawing, and painting. Not a day would go by without me doing something artistic. My little sisters come home with construction papered santa clauses and I just about freak out. I'm also frustrated with talented highschoolers in Oakland who don't even give college a second thought. I'm frustrated with the midwests love affair with Thomas Kincaid, people in old peoples homes with nothing to do, mentally challenged people who never get respect, and coco the gorilla trying her hardest to communicate with us (just kidding on that one). Honestly, I'm young and maybe have a "save the world complex" times one hundred, but I'm bursting with energy that needs to be put to good.

Below is a little bit more about Double Elephant and the website too.

Simon Ripley

Lynn Bailey

Double Elephant Print Workshop is an open access community based printmaking workshop based in Exeter. We have been established since 1997.

We run courses, promote exhibitions and provide open access to equipment for printmakers. We have resources for screenprint, etching, relief print and other processes. We run courses for special needs groups, in professional development and we outreach to schools and other communities. The workshop is run by Lynn Bailey and Simon Ripley.

You can contact us on 07855 206659
or through our web site www.doubleelephant.org.uk

Double Elephant was supported by ALIAS over three years with business planning, marketing and finance. We were also involved in the pilot scheme for ALIAS.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Art on Paper Nov/Dec 2005

Wilson Shieh,
color direct gravure with aquatint, spitbite, aquatint, and Ganmpi paper chine collé

I'm about to run out of the door and pick up this month's "Art on Paper". It's their second annual print edition.

The Year in Prints, Second Annual
prints by:
Mary Lee Bendolph / Enrique Chagoya / Shoshana Dentz / Tony Fitzpatrick / Ellen Gallagher / Trenton Doyle Hancock / Carrie Moyer / Shaun O’Dell / David Row / Ed Ruscha / James Siena / Wilson Shieh / Dana Schutz / Carolyn Swiszcz / Richard Tuttle / Kara Walker / Andrea Zittel

Thirty-five years ago, it would have been unlikely to walk into a collector’s home and find limited edition prints hanging in the company of paintings. Prints were considered the affordable offspring of contemporary art; people acquired them because they did not have the money to buy unique artworks by their favorite artists. Today things are changing and collectors acquire contemporary art with less regard to a particular medium. Still, we think it is instructive to single out prints as a sub-genre of contemporary art because the world to which they belong is full of fascinating contradictions. Technically, prints can be both inventive and arcane, incorporating the latest digital discoveries while making great use of such primitive processes as woodblock carving. Socially, they are simultaneously elitist and populist. Originally developed to ensure the widespread proliferation of images and ideas, fine art prints are now generally published in small editions of between ten to thirty impressions. For our Second Annual New Prints Review, we looked at more than 175 submissions from 81 publishers and workshops. The prints we considered were all published in the United States between September 2004 and September 2005 and adhere to the traditional definition of printmaking: they were printed through the transfer of an image from a matrix or plate to paper (i.e., lithographs, silkscreen prints, etchings, etc.). We selected seventeen for inclusion here, which is less than ten percent of what we reviewed. With regard to publishers and workshops, there are many whose prints were included last year that do not have prints included this year; several whose work is appearing for the first time; and a few that are represented by two prints, in part, because we are particularly excited about the artists they are working with right now. Although there is a lot of deserving work that is not here, we believe that the pages that follow provide a representative overview of some of the highlights of the year. —The Editors

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Amy Cutler

Amy Cutler is finally coming out with her own book. It's not out until May 2006, but it's already on the top of my list of books to buy.


Product Details
  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Hatje Cantz Publishers (May, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 377571734X
  • Price: $19.80

This image isn't too far off of what I went throught last week...... I was the elephant.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Kiki Smith


The great thing about living in the city is being able to meet great artists like Kiki Smith and Chuck Close!!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2005 - Sunday, January 29, 2006
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Kiki Smith: Best known for provocative depictions of the female body, Kiki Smith has explored a broad range of subjects, including religion, folklore, mythology, natural science, art history, and feminism. By turns intimate, universal, visceral, and fragile, Smith’s art renders the figure in frank, nonheroic terms, expressing its dual aspects of vulnerability and strength. Smith uses a wide variety of media, seeking out equivalences between the body and materials of art — the fragility and imperfections of skin and handmade papers, for example, or the fleshy, organic volumes of wax and plaster. Organized in close collaboration with the artist, this full-scale survey of her 20-year career includes nearly 100 objects grouped into thematic clusters she refers to as "gatherings," with works in plaster, bronze, paper, glass, and ceramic, as well as installations, prints, drawings, and photographs.

Book Signing
Chuck Close and Kiki Smith

November 19, 2005
4:00 p.m.
The Schwab Room
Artists Chuck Close and Kiki Smith will be in The Schwab Room to sign copies of Chuck Close: Self-Portraits 1967–2005 and Kiki Smith: A Gathering, 1980–2005.

Chuck Close: Self-Portraits 1967–2005, boasts 100 color and 50 black-and-white images of Close's dazzling self-portraits. Highlighting nearly 40 years of Close's work, the book features essays by Curators Madeleine Grynsztejn and Siri Engberg. Kiki Smith: A Gathering, 1980–2005, presents an array of Smith's work — including sculptures, works on paper, prints, and paintings — contextualized by essays from exhibition curator Siri Engberg, Linda Nochlin, and Marina Warner and an interview with the artist.

Free and open to the public.