The Printed Narrative: Works by Five Contemporary Printmakers
October 5 – October 28, 2011
Reception: October 7, 6-8PM
Opening this month at Arts Visalia is a new exhibition titled Printed Narratives, featuring works by five contemporary printmakers of growing national reputations. Prints by Brett Anderson, Matthew Hopson-Walker, Andrew Kosten, Brandon Sanderson, and Nick Spohrer will be on display through October 29th with an opening reception where the public can meet the artists on Friday, October 7th from 6 to 8 p.m.
As the name of the exhibition suggests, each of the artists utilize the various methods of printing as their primary means of creative expression. Further, the works on display share a common thread in the fact that they each produce art that is rooted drawing as a means of narration, storytelling, social commentary and personal introspection.
Numerous historically important artists, including such giants in the field as Albrecht Durer, William Hogarth, and Francisco Goya found the print to be a fertile ground for the broad distribution of ideas as well as a versatile platform from which to raise questions pertinent to the major cultural issues of their time. Similarly, many modern artists have utilized the print as an important means of expression, notably early Twentieth century figures associated with the German Expressionist movement, as well as many, more contemporary artists such as Thomas Hart Benton, Antonio Frasconi, Warrington Colescott or William T. Wiley.
In the works of each of the participating artists, one sees a broad range of historical and contemporary creative influences and references, clearly selected for the purposes of each new tale being told. For example, Kosten invokes Colonial era American folk art and illustration in images of biting social satire while Hopson-Walker’s images are laden with pop culture references intermingled in landscapes where one encounters the results of urban sprawl and material waste.
Printmaking as a mode of creative expression is a somewhat rare field and because the mechanics behind the individual processes can be rather complex, there is often considerable confusion as to what a “print” is. Many print methods date back hundreds of years and the techniques employed in their creation were at one time the most cutting-edge of technologies and, for the most part, many of these technologies have long since been abandoned by commercial industry as ever newer methods of printing are developed. Still, these old print processes continue to be compelling for many artists today and have been kept alive almost solely by artists because of the unique aesthetic appeal of each special printing process.
All five artists have roots to the Central Valley, though they live and work throughout the United States today. Matt Hopson-Walker teaches at both Fresno State and College of the Sequoias while Nick Spohrer is a member of the faculty at Fresno City College. As for Anderson, Sanderson and Kosten, each are former instructors at College of the Sequoias, having since moved on to other opportunities. Brett Anderson lives and works in Portland, Oregon, Brandon Sanderson teaches at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and Andrew Kosten teaches printmaking at the University of Southern Indiana. Each of them have exhibited their works throughout the United States and abroad, with many, many awards and recognitions amongst them.
While the five artists are featured in this exhibition do not comprise an exhaustive list of artists working today whose works embody this tendency towards storytelling and social commentary, they certainly represent a strong sampling of fresh voices of the long-standing narrative tradition of printmaking.
This exhibition was made possible through the generous support of the following business partners: