Five Centuries Of Printmaking Featured In Brenau Galleries Exhibit

Aug 26, 2011
Rudi Kiefer

Originally published on 1/27/10

Work by Francisco Goya is among more than 50 prints on exhibit in the Sellars Gallery at Brenau University in “The History and Techniques of Printmaking: Selected Works from the Collection of Dr. Efram Burk.” The show, which features artwork by an international array of history makers from the past 500 years, opens Feb. 2 with a 6 p.m. lecture and 6:30-8 p.m. reception on Thursday, Feb. 4. Running through March 7, the show as well as the reception and lecture, are free and open to the public. The gallery is located on the first floor of the Simmons Visual Arts Center, 200 Boulevard, on the university’s Gainesville campus.

According to Vanessa Grubbs, director of Brenau University Galleries, the show will have a broad appeal, both for the actual images and is visualization of the evolution of printmaking arts. “Some of the themes are Biblical, and others are nonobjective, but all are significant in the artistic movements that produced them,” Grubbs said. “The exhibit shows the great variety of techniques in printmaking, including woodcuts, engravings, etchings, lithographs, aquatint, and linoleum cuts. Among these is a printer’s mark from the 1500s.”

In addition to the work of the Spanish master Goya, the collection showcases works by radical Victorian artist John Martin; Hans Holbein the Younger, one of the 16th century’s greatest portraitists, who furnished a woodcut for the title page of Martin Luther’s Bible; Albrecht Durer, ranked among Europe’s first landscape artists in the 1500s; and Ando (Utagawa) Hiroshige, considered the last of the great artists in the Japanese ukiyo-e tradition.

“The works in this exhibition are divided into the following general categories: relief, intaglio, and planographic, according to the procedure in which they were created,” said guest lecturer and collector Burk, an associate professor of Fine and Applied Arts at Curry College in Massachusetts. “Intaglio can be considered the inverse process of relief, and planographic prints such as lithography and silkscreen, are different, in that an image is printed from an entirely flat surface. I have tried to arrange prints chronologically and provide labels explaining the various printmaking techniques as well as the working methods of some of the artists.”

Brenau Galleries also will exhibit “Collected Impressions: Print Selections from the Brenau University Permanent Art Collection” in the Leo Castelli Gallery, 429 Academy St. in Gainesville, from Feb. to March 2, with a reception on Feb. 4 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

“All of these artists are women who have distinguished themselves as provocative innovators in the medium of printmaking, using a variety of techniques,” said Mary Beth Looney, associate professor of art and assistant curator at Brenau Galleries.

Among the artists are Helen Frankenthaler, an abstract expressionist known for her sprawling, large-scale works; Hannah Wilke, a conceptual artist known for her woodcuts and her role in the feminist vanguard of vaginal imagery; Scottish artist Elizabeth Blackadder, who was the first woman to be elected to both the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Academy; and Kiki Smith, an aquatint specialist who often employs women‘s biological systems as a metaphor for broader social issues..

“Prints mimic what we are as humans,” Smith says of her work. “We are all the same, and yet everyone is different. I think there’s a spiritual power in repetition, a devotional quality, like saying rosaries.”

The exhibits will close Feb. 28 – March 7 for spring break.