17 February 2009
Boston Printmakers Biennial
At the "sneak peek" before the crowds came
This past Sunday was the opening day of the 2009 Boston Printmakers North American Biennial. Lynn & I decided to spend the whole weekend in the city and we had a great time. We especially enjoyed seeing the Shepard Fairey exhibit at the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art).
The Biennial opening day Sunday was full of events -- a brunch, a lecture by juror Roberta Waddell, a preview of the show for artists and patrons, and then a public opening. All told, I spent 6 hours on site.
My favorite part of the day was having the opportunity to meet Roberta Waddell, Curator Emerita of the NY Public Library print collection. Roberta is a lovely person as well as exceptionally knowledgeable about prints, and her focus on the artists and the art in the show was appreciated by all. In her talk she showed slides of all 124 images she had chosen and she managed to speak a few sentences about every piece and every artist. It was clear she had done a tremendous amount of research, visiting artists' web sites and collecting information about each piece.
The Boston Printmakers members and board had a similar attitude. They were very welcoming of the artists, very present and solicitous of peoples' needs. I felt really taken care of.
Out of the 124 selected prints, about 30 were relief prints, either woodcuts or linocuts. Many of the woodcut artists who were represented at the show were artists I'm familiar with -- Karen Kunc, Katie Badwin, Mary Brodbeck (moku hanga), and Kristina Hagman who I enjoyed meeting at the show. I also got to see the work of Baren Forum member James Mundie up close and personal. James often creates work about "oddities" and his accepted print was a very fine and detailed carving of the skulls of conjoined twins. I know from the Forum that James often carves with a plain old fashioned razor blade, so I really appreciated the opportunity to see the print up close.
I also got acquainted with some artists I hadn't heard of before. A piece I really liked was a large self-portrait woodcut by California artist Nathan Catlin showing the artist with a black eye. Neil Shigley creates very large, expressive, luminous relief prints of homeless people by carving plexiglass and mounting the prints onto canvas. And Wendy Willis' linocut swimmers were a joyful sight.
I came back from the weekend in Boston relaxed and refreshed and ready to plunge into some new work. My dog Ty, on the other hand, came back from his fun weekend at It's Pawsible Dog Training Center totally wiped out! He can barely move. Here he is recuperating under the dining room table, poor guy...