Let’s call them Printmakers Ten. An eclectic group of contemporary artists with a penchant for manipulating inks, plates, paper and presses. Their combined efforts have produced a collection of prints ranging from silkscreen through cyanotype to collage, which make up the current exhibition at the WAG.
Of the 10 printmakers whose work is on display, five were on hand Tuesday morning in the gallery, where I chatted with them while they hung close to 50 pieces.
Margaret Bignell is a veteran printmaker and art teacher, an alumna of the now defunct printmaking program at St. Lawrence College, and currently co-ordinator of the Friday morning KSOA Printmaking Open Studio. She likes to explore colour and texture in her collages and monotypes. In Origami III we see transparent overlapping angular shapes in cool colours jutting into the picture plane like shards of glass. Vying for space is a textured triangle of luminous yellow occupying the centre.
In contrast to Margaret’s constructed piece is a monotype by Jane Hamilton-Khaan called Love. Jane, a former commercial artist, lets things develop more loosely on the plate and, after much looking and reflecting, decides how to proceed. In this case, she added the black Japanese character that spells “love”, thereby continuing her series on the theme of humanity. The colours in this print—oranges, yellows and black—are not normally associated with love, but their warmth and strength allude to this very human emotion.
Seven of the 10 printmakers on view work in the KSOA Open Studio, where they can create prints using a variety of tools. Kym Fenlon-Spazuk, who is also a portrait painter, has chosen woodcut for one of her pieces entitled Iceberg Triptych, a study in shape and composition. Chipping away progressively at a wooden block is a technique she really likes, although she also does drypoint and makes monotypes. Kym is “trying it all” to find the best fit for the representational subjects she favours.
Wendy Cain, a retired Associate Professor of Art and Past Chair of Printmaking at OCAD, lives and practises her art in Newburgh. She has participated in more than 230 group exhibitions as a printmaker and papermaker. In this exhibition she shows three pairs of screen prints that, to some degree, rely on serendipity. They are gestural works, almost calligraphic, inspired by the changing seasons, evoking the movement of wind and, in Summer Pond (paired with Summer), capturing the reflections of light on water. To make these pairs, Wendy created an image on a screen and then added ink in different ways to each one to produce two unique but related prints.
As the theme for his works Ian Kennedy chose fashion—something he claims he knew nothing about. Once he launched the idea, however, his creativity was stoked. The resulting drypoint prints--enhanced by chine collé or a collographic layer of colour-- with insightfulness and humour touch on fashion’s trends, its tyranny, its elitism, its superficiality and its domination of glossy magazine advertising pages. Kennedy’s images allude to fashion icons such as the little black dress, the bathing suit, the runway and the photo shoot model. Remnants of the Rag Trade was inspired by Japanese street fashion.
Kingston Printmakers are Susan Beyette, Margaret Bignell, Wendy Cain, Barb Carr, Kym Fenlon-Spazuk, Jane Hamilton-Khaan, Shirley Kalfin, Ian Kennedy, Elizabeth Pulker and Jenny Raymond.
Hot Off the Press continues until October 28 with a reception on October 21, 2 to 4 p.m.