ODU’s newest addition to the Baron and Ellin Gordon art galleries, “East/West: A Survey of Contemporary Printmaking” celebrates the practice of print making in the United States.
The collection was created when organizers asked 100 of the most prominent printmakers/educators to embrace their current image making techniques and conceptual concerns, according to the art gallery’s website. The results were a collaboration of traditional and alternative printmaking techniques.
Printmaking is an often tedious creation resulting from trial and error. Methods such as lithography and woodcut demand that the artist flip their perception of positive and negative space as they chip away, creating an indent of an image. Mistakes must be embraced and the final product can be a surprise.
Once the image is created, whether it be in wood or silkscreen, an artist has limitless possibilities they can explore as they print their image, which can be printed on top of other works of art. The ink can vary from bright to dark with the pressure exerted when printing effecting the visibility of the image.
From the movement of Treelee MacAnn’s “Changing Patterns” to Matthre Egan’s colorful “Amlia and Irene,” the prints echo their artist’s passion and strive for perfection. The Baron and Ellin Gordon art gallery acknowledges these printmakers have had and continue to have dramatic impacts on printmaking education, their institutions and printmaking workshops.
One of the most expressive pieces in the collection is Ralph Slatton’s “Goya’s Rabbits.” The image depicts rabbits chasing each other in circles in a fenced area with the etching’s description reading “rabbits play chase their tails, a poor substitute for freedom.” The eyes of the rabbits challenge the viewers to ask themselves if their lives are any different from these rabbits. Is the human species lying with this idea of freedom or are we just like these rabbits, stuck in an infinite loop of monotony?
The exhibit will be displayed at the art galleries Oct. 19 to Nov. 25. The gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
By: Erika Schaubach