Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Back From Fargo

Attending the Mid America Print Council conference in Fargo was an interesting five days of travel and print education exposure and I think we all came away from it with new perspectives in many different areas.  There were seven current and former IUS folks.  Besides Donna, Susan, Rob, Jamie, and me, we were joined by Brett, who is working on his MFA at the University of Cincinnati, and Diana, a 2006 BFA graduate in printmaking and who recently moved to Minnesota.  She was very generous toting us around to various conference sites in her BMW.  Of course we had to fold Donna and Rob many times into the luggage compartment to get everyone into the car.  Many thanks to Diana.

The panels we attended were enlightening and covered a wide range of topics: "Printmaking: A System of Languages" was attended by everyone except me as I was presenting to the Board of the MAPC about the American Print Alliance: www.printalliance.org. 

"A Sense of Space", chaired by Karen Kunc.  Several artists on this panel discussed how their senses of space and their geographic locations influence their work, and how that work defined the print tradition, although much of what we saw pushed the boundaries of those traditions.

"The Role of Classical Practices in the Digital Age" explored the relevance of the traditional (classical) practice of observation and experimental interpretation in the participating panelists works.  It was chaired by Cynthia Kukla,  who questioned whether or not artists still embraced the classical methods in a world where imagery sources are so abundant via the internet.  One of the panelists, Flounder Lee, discussed his work which utilizes maping through such sources as GPS and Google Earth, and he documents all of his internet searches in his work.

"Teaching Critical Thinking in Print" was also very enlightening.  Each of the panelists in this presentation raised points about the complexity of relationships in collaboration and criticism. Phyllis McGibbon was an especially interesting presenter as she discussed the extremes of technique driven vs. concept driven instruction and how the integration of concept driven assignments help students to engage in the practice of critical thinking with technical instruction.

Finally, "What?!...a Woodcut?!" brought a few of the country's leading relief artists together to discuss their innovations in that medium.  Karen Kunc was, of course, very interesting in her presentation.  See her work at:  www.karenkunc.com

The exhibits at the conference were too numerous to single any one of them out, but they all were rich in the traditions and innovations of the printmaking media, from centuries old Rembrandts, to current digital applications.

The studio demonstrations were also engaging.  E. C. Cunningham's Phot-intaglio/Collagraph/Monoprint was inspiring. It was a large sheet of masonite with areas built up with gesso, modeling paste, carborundum, and solar plates.  A separation monotype was first printed and then the masonite matrix was inked and wiped intaglio and printed on top.  It was stunning.

Art Werger's Color Mezzotint  www.wergerprint.com demonstration was also very enjoyable. both artists had several of their students helping which expedited their laborious processes to a final impression.  One of the most interesting demonstrations was by Chris Flynn of Anchor Graphics who printed an intaglio digital combination with chine colle.  His passion for printmaking was infectious and I especially appreciated his attention to the craft of his work. The resulting print was beautiful.

Anyway, that's it in a nutshell.  See you tomorrow.   


brian h. jones said...

Hello....is anyone out there?

Flounder Lee said...


Thanks for writing about my panel! (got it sent to me thanks to google alerts)


brian h. jones said...

It was an interesting panel and your work was very engaging. Glad I was there.