I made the two-hour trek into Boston with three other Zea Mays affiliated artists and our conversations, stimulated by a New York Times opinion piece about the arts economy, were wonderful brackets on the day.
The Biennial juror was Dennis Michael Jon, an art historian and curator in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Jon is a very approachable and warm person and he interacted easily with the artists at the brunch and opening.
The themes that I could make out were humor, art historical reference, technical innovation, mapping, and maybe the Blackwater Horizon disaster. My favorite Blackwater Horizon related print was this gorgeous reduction woodcut by Suzanne Chouteau.
This year's invited artist is Cuban artist Ibrahim Miranda. Here's a shot of Miranda talking about his large installation, called Mapas, with two visitors. The work is densely layered, with images printed on top of maps and other commercially printed ephemera.
I was pleased to meet and see the work of several artists I've known only online up until now. Elizabeth Busey was in town from Indiana and I enjoyed meeting her and her family. Above is Elizabeth's Breath Intertwined, a reduction linoprint.
Another online friend and mokuhanga artist, William Evertson, was at the show from Connecticut. Above is his Biennial print, Photobooth Kabuki 2. I was especially smitten with the embossed face in the background.
Charles Coates is another artist I've been acquainted with online who I was happy to meet in person. Charles came from Arizona for the opening. His large woodcut, which won the Boston Public Library Purchase Prize, was impossible to photograph in its entirety, but hopefully you can see the interesting and delicate effect he created by printing with white ink on top of sumi ink.
Boston-based artist Julia Talcott has a history similar to mine: she was a successful commercial illustrator who fell in love with printmaking. Her linocut monoprint, Portable Color Trap, won the Otis Philbrick Museum of Fine Arts Purchase Prize.
I've been a fan of Stella Ebner's work ever since I found her web site when I was first learning mokuhanga and looking for western artists using mokuhanga in new ways. Ebner seems to be working exclusively with screenprinting these days, but her prints still have a mokuhanga quality about them -- the inks look transparent like watercolor, and the color fields that make up her imagery still look to me like they could be cut from blocks. I also love her sense of humor (as did juror Dennis Jon, who mentioned it in his talk). This work is called Making Starry Night, a screenprint on two large pieces of Japanese paper.
Here are a few other artists whose work I particularly noticed but didn't photograph.
There are a gajillion other great prints, too, so check out the slideshow.