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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Directions in Contemporary Printmaking: Selections from 4 RISD Portfolios

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Corridor Gallery
Fine Arts Center Galleries, University of Rhode Island
January 20 – March 1, 2005

KINGSTON, R.I. -- February 16, 2005 -- This special exhibition – culled from 4 different recently assembled portfolios of accomplished and innovative graphic work - represents the strengths of a cross-section of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Printmaking students and their teaching faculty. This Fine Arts Center Galleries’ Corridor Gallery exhibition is the first to gather together for public display so many diverse examples of contemporary printmaking from our prestigious art school neighbor to the north.

Faculty advisors for and participants in these portfolios were Andrew Raftery, Chair, Department of Printmaking (MFA, Yale University; BFA, Boston University), Henry Ferreira (MFA, RISD; BFA, Southeastern Massachusetts University) and Brian Shure (BA, Antioch College).

The Rhode Island School of Design offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts and the Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking. As the Department characterizes its program, approximately nearly 40 undergraduates and 20 graduate students enroll annually. Basic and advanced courses are offered in intaglio, lithography, silkscreen, relief and photo processes, as well as computer and alternative print methods. Among many distinguished Printmaking alumnae are Kara Walker, MFA ’94 and Shahzia Sikander, MFA ’95.

As the Printmaking Department further describes itself:

“Students in Printmaking explore and develop personal concepts, interpretations and imagination while investigating conceptual and practical issues surrounding the making of prints books and multiples. The Department emphasizes freedom of expression, the history of process and the development of a skilled work ethic as well as personal imagery.”

These stated values are in abundant evidence in the selections from 4 different portfolios presented in this exhibition, where many and varied techniques serve purposes that are highly individualized. As viewers will discern, the artists experiment skillfully with new and traditional techniques. These range from overtly contemporary examples like a digital print on acetate, another made from collage or still another combined with silkscreen to classically demanding processes like engraving, photogravure or embossing. Lithography and silkscreen still are practiced, but so are more esoteric techniques as attested by a chiaroscuro relief print from polymer plates or an image derived from a collage-etched copper plate.

Artist, teacher and advisor Brian Shure tellingly explains the genesis and development of the portfolio he coordinated and from which 11 examples will be shown:

“I presented a range of portfolio possibilities, demonstrated processes at the request of class members, listened carefully, and provided support and technical assistance. Students were required to make experimental prints, report and discuss results, develop an independent project, and print just one full edition.. In weekly meetings we examined individual ideas, offered critical analysis, and slowly shaped the format of the portfolio and individual projects. The students were highly motivated; they made all decisions, chose subject matter and medium, designed and printed the colophon page and portfolio case, and arranged to have the boxes fabricated professionally…. The finished portfolio records the trust and shared enjoyment as well as the development of ideas and skills necessary to complete consistent, well- executed editions.”

The work of some 25 emerging and professional teaching artists is featured in the Corridor Gallery exhibition. It is a wonderful chance for gallery viewers to learn the latitude of contemporary print practice, especially the many and varied aesthetic approaches and experimentation that printmaking today is able to successfully generate and absorb.

Monday, February 7th, 12 noon

A discussion of the works on view will be led by Sarah Hartman, RISD ’03,
whose work is represented in the exhibition. She is currently serving as
Assistant to the Chair, Department of Printmaking, Rhode Island School of Design.

GALLERY HOURS are daily, 9 am – 9 pm.

All programs of the Fine Arts Center Galleries are open to the public without charge.