IU Printmaking to celebrate ‘60 Years of Innovation and Art’ Friday
Source: Indiana Daily Student
IU printmaking graduate students will welcome guests to the “IU Printmaking: 60 Years of Innovation and Art” opening reception at 5 p.m. Friday in the University Collections building on Indiana Avenue.
The Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture and Design began cultivating its printmaking archive in 1963, collecting donated prints made by graduate printmaking students and visiting artists. Today, the teaching archive — easily accessible to art students for learning purposes — has more than 3,500 prints.
Graduate students Jenn Johnson, Alyssa Davis and Nichole Wolz, who curated the exhibition, have frequent access to the expansive teaching archive — one that’s right down the hallway from the studios they work in every day.
They wanted to share this access with the public, who don’t normally get to see these artworks. This exhibition will be the first time these works have been displayed for everyone, Johnson said.
“We thought it would be pertinent and interesting to showcase just how much we have hanging out in our area,” they said. “We wanted to showcase the grad students’ skillsets through the decades at IU.”
Since 1963, Johnson said every graduate printmaking student has donated at least one piece to the archive. When applying to graduate programs, Johnson said they originally had no idea how strong, diverse and experimental IU’s print collection was. They want to highlight how impressive the department’s resources are through the exhibition.
Beyond showcasing the collection, the graduate students said they hope to illuminate printmaking in general. Each of the students have their favorite pieces on display. Johnson’s strong background in lithography — a traditional printmaking process that uses a chunk of stone — influenced their love of a piece from 1983, “Shell Universe.”
“My heart is really in the litho studio,” they said. “It's my favorite place to be, you can't get me out of it.”
The students agreed they want the exhibition to call attention to the beautiful and boundless nature of printmaking as a medium.
“We’re really shoving the word of printmaking down everyone’s throats,” Davis said jokingly. “Hopefully, people leave the show with some sort of understanding and appreciation of printmaking.”
For Davis, the allure of printmaking — the reason it should be so celebrated — lies in the diversity of techniques and processes that artists can explore, and the immense range of artwork that people can create.
“Your physical hand is in it, but then process takes it a step further,” Davis said. “It's kind of like magic.”
The group spent months curating the exhibition, and they quickly realized there would be no way to condense such an expansive collection of works into one theme. Instead, the printmakers grouped the images based on the variety of styles and techniques used to make the artworks.
Wolz said she and her partners set up an interesting challenge for themselves: to display the breadth of what printmaking can be while still creating a cohesive exhibit.
“Having people understand how cool our department is, how strong the people that have come through here are, is really interesting,” Wolz said. “That legacy for me is really important.”
The reception is free and open to the public and details can be found on the IU-Bloomington calendar.