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African American Art from the Collection

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Loans and Permanent Collection
1/14/2010 - 3/16/2010
Organizing institution: The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia

This Exhibition includes the following Venues:
  • 00/00/00 - 00/00/00

Partly constructed, partly mechanized, contemporary prints developed after 1970 in a trajectory similar to contemporary photography. Innovations in printing processes allowed the once demure work to reach the scale of painting. Whether produced as a single image or in multiples, prints have moved from the margins of mass production to become an integral part of contemporary art practice. In the latter part of the twentieth century, they were the perfect vehicles for artists concerned with the conceptual critique of authenticity, seriality, and cultural production. More recently, an increased interest in mark making and craft has continued to draw artists to printmaking.

The prints in this show share two fundamental concerns: a desire to reveal the process by which an image arises and an interest in the theoretical concerns invested in meaning and communication. Artists today use the print as a mode of investigation often allowing discoveries made in the printmaking process to inform work made in other mediums. Many are drawn to printmaking because of the potential of producing varied and beautiful surfaces. Artists strive for an emotive and intellectual response through the interaction of ink and paper. Techniques are chosen for their distinctive results: woodcuts display a sense of relief and graphic force; etchings offer delicate fine lines; lithography can result in thick bold lines and broad washes. Collaboration is also a part of the story of contemporary printmaking. The accord between the artist and master print maker often facilitates an even greater range of experimentation.

The exhibition, organized according to technique, presents prints from the collection created in the last two decades. The selection is not limited to works by Americans but includes artists from Cuba, Finland and Russia suggesting that the resurgence and rethinking of printmaking is not just a contemporary phenomenon but also a global one. Also apparent in the exhibition is the dynamic and pluralist manner in which contemporary artists have approached printmaking. In some instances, as with the print rendered by conceptual artist Fred Wilson, the work represents the first time the artist has engaged with the medium. In other instances, photographers like Andres Serrano have turned to prints to achieve textures unattainable in photography, and painters like Bill Jacklin search for something new in the process each time they produce monotypes. What ties all of these artists together is their penchant for experimentation and their need to test the ability of the medium to present ideas in fresh ways.

Curated by curatorial assistant Elizabeth Hicks, Luzak-Lindner curatorial assistant Melissa Ragain and curatorial intern Kyle Haskins.

The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of Arts.

Exhibition Objects (9)

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