Thursday, February 3, 2011

IPCNY exhibition at the VAC at UT

Attended the opening of the IPCNY travelling exhibition last Friday at the VAC at UT. There were some really nice prints, but overall I was not that impressed with the quality of the work.

I got into a really interesting conversation with a New Orleans' artist. His piece was labelled "lithograph." My friend Jo and I were examining two sections of the print that were very pale and discussing the artist's "intention." At that moment, the artist approached and asked us which character we liked the most. (It was a marching band, cheerleaders, etc.) We asked him whether he drew on a plate or stone. He told us "no." He draws and hand-colors his drawings. This was a "copy." Yikes! He said the print shop made a copy and printed it. "What about these lighter areas?" "They made a bad copy," he said. Oh, no. Blood pressure rising. After the fifth time he referred to the print as a "copy," I said: "I would not be using the term 'copy' in the middle of an IPCNY exhibition." He ran away shortly after; I'm sure he never got it.

Please, if you are an artist and working with a print shop, educate yourself on the process, the terminology, the expertise needed. Do not sign prints that put your work out in the public domain as an inferior product. And don't pretend that you are offering anything but a reproduction if that is all it is.

There is much beautiful work that is the result of a true collaboration between the artist and the print shop. To just hand your work over to someone and let them reproduce it causes confusion in the market place, making it more difficult for artists who create original prints or print shops who work with artists to make original prints that add to their bodies of work.

-Cathie Kayser

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