‘A Narrative of Printmaking’ on Display in Eastern’s Art Gallery

The artists and curator (red chairs) discuss the exhibition during the March 28 opening reception.

The Art Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University hosted a reception and artist talk for its current exhibition, “Between Spaces: A Narrative of Printmaking,” on March 28. The collection is curated by Simonette Quamina, assistant professor of printmaking, and remains open until April 25. Artists Taro Takizawa, David Curcio, Carrie Scanga and Cornelia Mcsheehy are featured in the exhibition.

“Et Capitibus Volvent” (2018) by Cornelia McSheeshy–lithography, rubber stamp, raffia, wire Asian papers, ink, mud puddle wash.

“Between Spaces” focuses on the representation or exploration of space through the medium of printmaking. The show includes contemporary prints as well as 3D works constructed of prints, books, installations and other forms of printmaking that take the print off the wall and bring it into the space of the gallery.

While selecting installations for the exhibition, Quamina specifically chose pieces that would create a narrative around the institution of printmaking itself, as well as show the different mediums and styles of printmaking.

At the reception, all four artists discussed their creative processes and inspirations, as well as their background with printmaking and other artistic mediums. Students and those who attended were able to ask the panel questions regarding their evolution as artists.

“I love the process of printmaking,” said McSheehy, a professor of printmaking at the Rhode Island School of Design. “There’s a sculptural element to it, almost a hybridity. I like fooling around with space in galleries, and I like pieces that jump at you from off the wall.”

“I really like the contrast between solid and delicate,” said Scanga, a multidisciplinary artist from Bowdoin College in Maine. “I like taking solid, steadfast objects and making them temporary and fragile.”

Scanga’s interest in the contrast of fragility inspired her to create a series of pieces created by wrapping printed tracing paper around a brick, which is later removed. These ghostly bricks are then stacked to create an architectural installation in galleries.

“Hostess Club” and “Glassy Day” (2016) by David Curcio–woodcut.

Takizawa, a recent graduate of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University, also takes inspiration from contrast, although his focus turns toward patterns, color and time periods. He is best known for his large-scale vinyl installation works, which can often be seen on the glass walls of cafés or storefronts, as well as in galleries.

“Ballast” (2012-14) by Carrie Scanga–tracing paper with intaglio printing.

“I draw a lot of influence from Japan, which has a fairly pure culture and artistic tradition,” Takizawa said. “I try to make old patterns my own, like things from architecture, textile or armor design. I like to reinvent ancient patterns into something modern.”

Curcio, who has an MFA in printmaking from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, specializes in woodcuts, which is the oldest printmaking technique. His inspiration comes spontaneously to him, and he is often influenced by the media he consumes.

“When I started getting into woodcuts, I was watching a lot of Japanese gangster films,” Curcio explained. “If I had been watching Irish mafia movies, I’m sure they would have been different, but I’m glad they turned out this way. Film noir is a big influence of mine, I love it.”

Several of the artists discussed their reasons for creating prints, as well as their motivations behind being an artist. “There’s a fine line you have to walk between making art for yourself and making art to send a message,” Scanga concluded. “It’s always going to be a little bit of both, at least for me – because art is so personal, it’s also political, and vice versa.”

Eastern’s Art Gallery hours are Tuesday and Wednesday 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday 1-7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 2-5 p.m. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.easternct.edu/artgallery or call (860) 465-4659.

Written by Raven Dillon