Current Exhibition

Contemporary Printmaking

The Art Gallery at Western Wyoming Community College is pleased to present Contemporary Printmaking, a group exhibition of artwork showcasing the different ways that contemporary artists employ traditional, hand-pulled printmaking techniques in their work. The exhibition will run from October 31 to December 2. Visitors will be able to visit the exhibition daily from 8am to 10pm except for holiday closures.  

Historically, printmaking techniques were developed to rapidly produce duplicates of an image. Beyond that, however, artists found that printmaking processes presented unique textural and mark-making possibilities that could not be achieved in any other way. In modern times, with the invention of newer and faster methods for mechanically reproducing images, traditional hand-pulled printmaking processes became more or less obsolete as a means of mass-producing art. As a result, artists who used traditional printmaking began to experiment with the unique visual possibilities inherent to printmaking, rather than focusing on its duplicative side.  

The works included in Contemporary Printmaking are strongly representative of the impulse to exploit the unique visual possibilities of printmaking. Some of the pieces in the exhibition—such as Kate Samworth’s velvety mezzotint Rooster Study, or Shushana Rucker’s overcast monotype, Bridgeport—focus on what can be achieved by using a single printmaking technique. Other pieces, such as Summer Into Winter, Florence Alfano McEwin’s combination of collagraph and counter print with painting, or Miriam Schaer’s Memory Fading: Shroud #2, which combines monoprint with a digitally printed photograph, show the unique visual flavors that can be achieved, and concepts that can be communicated, through the combination of printmaking techniques with other artistic mediums.  

“Traditional printmaking processes occupy an unusual space in the contemporary art world,” said Jacob Muldowney, Art Gallery director at Western and the organizer of this exhibition. “Printmaking has been around for quite a long time. Nowadays, when you look at the hand-cranked etching presses that printmakers use, which really aren’t that far removed from what Gutenberg used, you tend to think of printmaking as an archaic process. But it’s important to remember that many of these traditional printmaking processes were, in their day, just hugely innovative technological advances. And I think that printmaking has, through the years—even in its more traditional forms—held on to that ethos of innovation, of being on the cutting edge. That’s what so exciting to me about this show. You have all these artists who, in one way or another, are using these techniques that are highly traditional. And yet they are creating such a wide variety of art with a strong feeling of vitality and freshness to it. It’s very much of the current moment, both in its visual vocabulary as well as in its content.” 

 If you have any questions about this show, or the Art Gallery’s programming in general, please contact Jacob Muldowney at jmuldowney@westernwyoming.edu.

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