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I was in Northfield a couple weeks ago!  I visited expressly to see a few events that were very important to me when I was at Carleton: Empty Bowls, the senior art show, and the fifth-year show at the NAG.  This is the first of the posts about those wonderful events, a post about “Again, Again” and the fantastic work created by my friends and Carleton fifth-year interns Kristina Eldrenkamp and Emma Bentley.

Again, Again series by Joey Fleming; the rest of the exhibit in the background

Emma has a true gift with words (she even won the Huntington Poetry Prize at Carleton), and combines poetry and visual interest in such a way that could be overpowering would that the phrases weren’t so perfect.  My mother “didn’t get” the collected cigarette butts, but I think that’s maybe because she was trying to read more into it.  Knowing Emma, I don’t see some post-modern, post-everything piece about health and smoking or any of that art school too-overt stuff.  I mean, maybe it was, but like the titles say they’re For Tony not for you.  I see them as collections, arranged beautifully and masterfully inside precious fixed spaces.  The other piece of hers in the show was For Starters, a poem in the form of a list, in the form of silk screened words, arranged on blocks on the wall.  The phrases are at once delicate and commanding, filled with the nuance of experience and inexperience.  Some of my favorite phrases (which were extremely difficult to narrow down because I love every single word):

I want to be the kind of woman who you can just tell that she’s serious about her future.

I want to be in a railroad town in 1903, and I want that railroad town to be Las Vegas, Nevada.

I want to be in Texas in the early 90’s and I want to be raising children there, in Texas in the early 90’s.

I want music in my head all day long.

I want to love my body.

I want to hug people casually, without feeling uncomfortable.

I want to be hugged.

I want to be the kind of woman who accepts that she will be misunderstood, who maybe sometimes even wants that.

I want to believe that aging isn’t so bad.

I want to age gracefully.

I don’t want to age.

My mother saw the show before I did and she loved Kristina’s maps.  It’s hard for me to imagine works that could be better suited to my mother’s interests.

  1. She is extremely forgetful, so the houses Kristina created would be perfect for her.
  2. She works at the Department of City Development, so she deals with houses and maps and plans all the time.  She also used to be an appraiser and has an enormous appreciation for new and historical architecture alike.

It’s sort of like Kristina’s drawings were made for her.  Besides my mother’s endless admiration, her work is very thoughtful and combines her interests in a way that isn’t just interesting to her.  I too loved the house plans, but, being a print girl, her pieces Boden I, II, and III were beautiful and fascinating.  Color intaglio is difficult and weird, but she is the kind of woman who loves a clean print so I can really see her embracing the challenge.  The prints were subtle and intricate and layered and I think I could stare at them for hours without losing interest.  Emma and Kristina are two tremendously talented women and I am so pleased I got to see what they have been working on since our senior show.

The show also features the work of the St. Olaf fifth-year interns, Molly Baeverstad, Joey Fleming, Erica Naylor, Dylan Nelson, and Trygve Wastvedt.  I find that I never really come away from a group show being impressed with everyone, so I’m going to talk about he artists I really loved, Baeverstad, Fleming, and, to a lesser extent, Naylor.

Molly Baeverstad did a series of color monoprints, each with delightfully strange names that were almost close to words I recognized (so I really apologize if I wrote some down wrong) [Update: I figured out how I recognized some of them].  I love how the prints turned out, but I really want to ask her about her process.  How many layers, what kind of ink, what kind of plates.  The designs were abstract, colorful, layered, delicate.  Mostly I just wanted to talk to her more about them.  I loved them, but I’m confident I would love them more if I had more information.

Joey Fleming’s work was really a treat.  There was a wide range of material that it was hard not to be interested.  I liked the work he did with text, mostly I loved how beautifully the text was rendered onto the clay and the interaction with the glaze, but the text itself was sort of hit or miss.  I’m generally not a fan of spreading text out over a bunch of pots, but it’s usually at least a little interesting.  What really interested me about Fleming’s work was the faceted vases and cups.  Those pieces had such grace and motion without being “perfect” in the classic porcelain sense.  The glaze worked with the forms, giving a great variation of surface and color.  I am a huge fan of purposeful imperfection in clay.  Imperfection can often mean badly thrown, heavy, and accidentally glazed well.  Fleming’s pieces were imperfect, but in the beautiful, effortless way that comes from hard work, trial and error, talent and luck.  There was also a huge volume of his work in the show, which to me indicates so much hard work because for every piece you include there are probably two or three you left out.

There are more comments about specific pieces in the photo gallery, so I encourage clicking around to see and read more.  Unfortunately, you missed your shot to see Again, Again at the Northfield Arts Guild if you’re reading this now.  It was a really excellent show, and I am really pleased I got to see it when I visited.

Click through to see a gallery of images from the show.

Read the rest of this entry »

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This is the first of a few “ghostly” posts in honor of Halloween.  School is also getting busier, so I have less time to putz around on the internet and write about paper and clay.

Anyways, yesterday I set out to scan a printmaking project I did in Australia.  It is a series of 100 self portraits that I made with 1 plate and several texture plates.  Some of the prints I altered and some other people altered.  I also did tons of “ghost prints”, which is where you run a plate through the press more than once without inking it again in between.

Each plate has its own key to how I printed it, which is sort of like a fingerprint.  For instance, if the texture plate was printed first then the face is embossed.  I can match prints by looking at where and how the ink spread.  A few of the plates were colored with a watercolor and dish soap method before they were printed, instead of colored after.  I printed mostly intaglio (where you ink the plate, the ink gets into the etched lines, then you wipe the flat surfaces to get the white tone back), but sometimes I printed my plate relief (ink on the surface of the plate, no ink in the etched lines).  I even printed a few using both methods.  I also printed on top of friends’ ghost prints.  I basically hung around the press while people were editioning and asked nicely if I could run my paper through before they inked it again.  When I show all the prints, I arrange them in a grid, with related prints spread out.  A lot of the prints look like they are related, but they’re not.  When assembled all together, it’s fun to find which ones are related.

This is by far the largest series I have. I printed the face plate first, texture second, then ghost-printed the texture plate.

This plate was over-inked so the ink would spread, and then ghost-printed normally. You can see how the lines are raised instead of flat because no texture plates squashed the ink. The third ghost was altered by Shannon.

 

This texture plate I forgot in the acid for a really, really long time (4+ hours I think). It was printed second and then ghost-printed. You can sort of see the original texture in the top right, where the cork holding it up provided a resist.

This series was made with the face plate printed first, then a tinted texture plate.

 

Pretty soon I will update the “Gallery” section with these prints.  Right now I am assembling them into mini-grids, which is pretty time consuming when I have 100+ prints to choose from.

During winter term 2010 I took a class called multicultural education.  One of the first assignments for that class was to write an autobiography.  Most people wrote theirs within this “I am from…” template, but I am not a great writer so any kind of paragraph or full sentence attempt at an autobiography was totally unappealing to me.  I love lists, and I think lists can say just as much about me (maybe more) than prose.  I typed this list (of things I like) beneath an intaglio print I did in the south pacific.   The print is a self portrait that was part of a series of similarly composed portraits.  This image is a photocopy of the autobiography, so it is particularly dark and murky-ish in a way the original print wasn’t.  I think the end result was appropriate to the assignment.

 

It says,

Things I like:

Leopard print, typewriters, printmaking, books (not reading), analog technologies, my grandmothers (both deceased), handkerchiefs, peas, broccoli, ginger ale, trains, things that cooperate, working/making $$, industrial cities (like Milwaukee), television, optical illusions, gift-wrapping, embossment, sleeping, bringing up disability issues constantly, gospel music, country music, cracking my knuckles, texting, conspiracy theories, miniatures, letter-writing campaigns, marginalia, coming in from the cold, stretching, appositives, bringing up disability issues constantly, prescription drug coverage, Aaliyah, creatures of habit, idioms, AM radio, tattoos, courier new, the aging process, symmetry, asymmetry, Ayyam-i-ha, sass, and clean sheets.

Having nothing to do during senior week, I was poking around on the Foot in the Door 4 website (and by “poking around” I mean “looking for my piece“).  Foot in the door is an exhibit held every 10 years at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts that is part of the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program.  Anyone in the state of Minnesota can submit a piece so long as it fits in a 10 in. x 10 in. x 10 in. cube and this year they got over 4800 submissions.  They get tons of art from children, professions, students, and every kind of person doing visual art in the state (including a video category they added this year).  The work is displayed salon style in the MIA for a couple of months, which is a really awesome opportunity.  I really love this exhibition and they have a lot of really fun photos on their flickr of events over the course of the show.  They also have images of TONS of the work documented on the website, and it is really fun to click “random” and discover an interesting/stupid/beautiful/ thoughtful/comical/etc. piece of art.

For more info, visit the website: www.artsmia.org/foot-in-the-door-4/maep.html

I submitted a print to the upcoming Bodies publication from the GSC (my current place of employ).  It is an intaglio  print (an engraving specifically) I did in intro printmaking two spring terms ago.  It was part of a book called “These Things Are Formative”, portraits of bodies with text about an experience that influenced their life/body.  I did a self portrait about me + narcolepsy which I have retitled for Bodies “I used to be a morning person and now I have narcolepsy”.  It’s loosly based on a photo that a friend took of me when I had accidentally fallen asleep while sitting in a chair in the KRLX record library.

I used to be a morning person and now I have narcolepsy, intaglio print, 2008

Bodies comes out soon.  Check out the publications section of the GSC website to read our previous publications, When I Knew and Drag.

This morning I attended a really awesome demonstration by Richard Shaw about silkscreening decals.  Jhanna and I tried to do a little of this last term during the decal assignment (for which Emogene did her clouds that I posted about) but it was only moderately successful.  The most successful was screening directly onto clay, and we never really got the decal part of that off the ground.    Well Richard Shaw (who was so amazing and totally hilarious) gave us some great ideas including printing on newsprint.  The decals we used for the project were on rice paper from China, so we tried using different kinds of thinner papers (iwaki, tissue paper, etc.) but none really worked.   I can’t believe we never thought of newsprint.  Shaw also coated decal paper in gum arabic and then silk screened onto it so that the underglaze would release off the paper!  That is so clever.  I think that was for overglaze decals and requires a thicker kind of paper, but still a great idea.  I am so excited that we will get to try these new techniques when we get back.

The demonstration was also super funny (I thought) because he had to explain a lot about printmaking to the ceramics people.  Suckers!

I should mention that this was a simultaneous demonstration with Kari Radasch, who did some incredible things with hand building and I am so excited to bring those back to the studio.  I really liked her because she just looked totally rad.  Like someone I would be friends with/what my friends will probably look like in 5-10 years.  She was awesome, funny, and real talented.

Jhanna and Alexandra with one of Richard Shaw's silk screened decals on newsprint

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