Discovering world printmaking at Wright State University Galleries
The third in an ongoing record-breaking series of surveys of forms of printmaking around the world is on display in “Global Matrix III” at the Wright State University Galleries through Dec. 9. Initiated in 2002, the “Global Matrix” concept has materialized every five years through 2007 to the present one in 2012.
Its early genesis started with “The Democratic Print” curated by then-WSU Gallery Coordinator Craig Martin, now Director of Purdue University Galleries, and WSU printmaker professor Kim Vito, who realized that they could metamorphose their printmaking extravaganzas into an international scope modeled after digital surveys curated by colleague Ron Geibert. Martin recalled at the opening of “Global Matrix III” that “with the advent of digital means you could send something to an artist in Australia in seconds and communicate without a written brochure to contact artists around the world and see if they would contribute to the exhibition.”
The second time around, in 2007, Martin and Vito added Sean Caulfield, Associate Professor at the University of Alberta, and Purdue Professor Kathryn Reeves, like Martin and Vito an alumnus of Miami University, to the curatorial team. “In the beginning” related Martin, “we sat in a room for two days with 17 carousel slide trays, and now it was juried completely digitally and we weren’t in the same room, so the show is based on an amalgam of individual responses, ending up with a total of 60 works.”
“Global Matrix III” is now a touring exhibition with five venues through 2013, initially premiering at Purdue in January 2012, and being representative of many geographical origins representing, over the years, 31 countries around the world. Throughout its evolution, the selection has always been predicated on the principle that the “matrix” in which an image is cut or carved away creates a negative for final positive images, a concept now extended to comprehensively include the “digital matrix” which exists within the design capability of the computer.
An artist like Laurie Sloan (USA), also a Miami University product and an accomplished draughtsman, uses individual elements created in the computer, which are moved around and manipulated until they come to some aspect of talking to each other. Her untitled pieces are joyous celebrations of color and textural forms related somehow to her graduate career as a biology major. Jessica Condek (USA) in her “Cross Current” (2011) creates a triptych configuration in which two monochrome digital sidebars surround a colorful inky reduction woodcut, mysteriously also computer designed.
Fred Hagstrom (USA) has fashioned an artist’s book in silkscreen called “Forces and Fossils” (2011), open to a perforated conical organic form on a green textured ground, inspired by the Dylan Thomas poem “the force that through the greenfuse drives the flower …” Yuji Hiratsuka (USA) suffuses the intaglio and chine collé “Soft Landing” (2011) with echoes of Japanese woodblock printing where a windblown figure with a flowering sash floats by pink blossoms above burgeoning heart-shaped green leaves.
Elisabetta Diamanti (Italy) uses calcography, or the art of drawing with chalk, to form black bursts like botanical bulbs exploding on a gray wash ground in her “Stami” (2009), while Janne Laine (Finland) employs the misty grays of aquatint to heighten the photogravure of a craggy landscape. Verapong Sritakulkitiakarn (Thailand) produces a pair of multilevel vertical woodcuts called “Chronicles of dreams” (2011) using modular elements like tree and rock forms manipulated in layers of colors, featuring in one a tree appearing to sprout horizontally like breath from a head by the tide of a blue lake.
Rosalyn Richards’ (USA) etchings in both color and black and white delineate delicate traceries over meshed textures and a floating abstract schematic over a sea of enclosed complexities in her “Descent” (2011). Three “Compositions” (2009) by Marilee Salvator (USA) use multiple shaped etching plates, relief and lithography to create cellular overlays like blue phagocytes floating over red hovering cells, and introducing digital effects in a penetrating hazy blue plasma in her “#24.”
Heather Huston (Canada) has skeletal pole structures and a low blue watery horizon in her “Glancing, Passing” silkscreen (2011); the three soft ground etchings with aquatint by Jochen Koehn (Germany) pose stylized foliage forms, with a triangular black dot grid overlay in “3-010” (2010); Eva Pietzcker (Germany) employs a Japanese woodblock technique with fine incised white grasses on rounded hills and floating leaves and grasses on water in “River, Maine” (2010); and Paul Coldwell (UK) uses laser cut reliefs and collage in his “Canopy II and III” (2011) pieces with dot matrices overlaid with dark linear maps and small white destination points.
The “Global Matrix” exhibition is enhanced with the addition of pieces from the Dayton Matrix group, mainly members of the Dayton Printmakers Cooperative with outstanding pieces including: Ray Must’s intaglio and copperplate abstract “Indian Summer” with its intense networks enhanced by blue and white specks; Gabriela Pickett’s skeletal personages around birth and death in the linocut “Lesser of Two Evils”; Matthew Burgy’s Warhol soup can silkscreen take-off labeled “Can of Paint Soup (Gogh for It)”; John Driesbach’s hovering iguana and emerging bather in the lithograph “Akumal”; and Ernest Koerlin’s linear etching of commedia dell’arte figures among entwined roses in “Search for Singularity.”
Global Matrix III is on display at the Wright State University’s Robert & Elaine Stein Galleries located in A132 Creative Arts Center on the university campus, 3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Thursday, and noon-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information call (937) 775-2978 or visit www.wright.edu/artgalleries.
Reach DCP visual art critic Jud Yalkut at visuals@DaytonCityPaper.com.