A new exhibit at the Durango Arts Center wants to show you that there’s a lot more to prints and printmaking than you might think.
“Under Pressure,” featuring 26 artists from the Four Corners, will open Friday and run through May 19.
This is not a passive exhibit: You’ll have an opportunity to learn about the processes the artists used to create their works. Not only will you get to see the artwork, there will also be examples of the tools artists use in printmaking, and the space will be divided into the four types of printmaking – relief, intaglio, planographic and stencil. When you enter the room, a large poster breaks down each type of printmaking process.
“The main reason I wanted to do this show was to help educate the public,” said Maureen May, the exhibit’s curator. “Most people, when they walk into a gallery, see something that’s marked as a print and they think, ‘Oh, it’s just a reproduction or a copy of something.’”
Louise Grunewald, a calligrapher, printmaker and designer, is showing her work.
“I am fascinated by the design potential inherent in the shapes of the letters of the alphabet,” she said of her piece “Square Deal,” a solar plate blind embossing with colored pencil and graphite.
It’s the second in a series she’s currently working on called “Alphabet Soup.”
Grunewald said the solar plate process she uses involves exposing an image onto a steel-backed plate that has a UV-sensitive polymer coating. She printed each of the letters of the piece onto a transparency and laid it on the unexposed plate. Exposing the image in the sunlight for about 45 seconds and then a “post-exposure” in the sun later resulted in a hardened plate that can stand the pressure of an etching press.
“I picked the artists whose work I was familiar with, but also wanted to cover as many printmaking processes as I could from artists in the Four Corners,” May said. “I was able to find enough artists in this area – I wanted two artists for each process, but I ended up with a few more because artists work in more than one medium.”