Los Angeles Printmaking Society Sponsors 16th Biennial Expo

By Meyers, Laura | Art Business News, March 2001 | Go to article overview

Los Angeles Printmaking Society Sponsors 16th Biennial Expo


Meyers, Laura, Art Business News


LOS ANGELES--Printmakers and the printmaking arts took center stage in Los Angeles in January, when the Los Angeles Printmaking Society's (LAPS) biennial showcase for graphic works opened at the Laband Art Gallery of Loyola Marymount University.

Some 60 artists were represented in the show with 75 different graphic works, both self-published and works printed by Los Angeles area publishers and small art presses, including Cirrus, El Nopal Press, Gemini G.E.L., Grand Central Press, Hamilton Editions, Josephine Press, Mixografia Workshop, Muse [X] Editions and Self-Help Graphics. Although the exhibitions sponsors are nonprofit institutions, all the works were for sale. Prices started at $200 and went as high as $6,000 for an Ellsworth Kelly print, "Red, Yellow, Blue," published by Gemini G.E.L.

Since its inception nearly three decades ago, LAPS' National Biennial Exhibition has been the only regular survey of the evolving field of contemporary printmaking presented in California. "There just isn't any venue for showing off what's happening in printmaking today," observed Gordon Fuglie, Laband Gallery director. "We fill the niche."

At the same time, 19 commercial and nonprofit galleries in Southern California also presented print exhibitions as part of a collaborative event, "Southern California Perspectives in Printmaking." Among the participating art dealers and galleries were Toby Moss, whose Los Angeles gallery showcased prints by Dorr Bothwell, Heritage Gallery in Pacific Palisades and Old Town Gallery in Tustin. Santa Monica's Ikon Limited gallery also structured its January show around the LAPS event. "Given the nature of the art market and the art buying public here--Los Angeles is not a pedestrian city--any angle to get people into the gallery is helpful," Gallery Director Kay Richards explained.

And indeed, groups of collectors who had visited the Biennial followed up with a visit to Ikon, Richards reported. She added, "I usually feature blue chip prints in the gallery, and I seldom show emerging artists, but for this I tried to expand the definition a little bit." Ikon exhibited works by Raymond Pettibon, Damien Hirsch, Julian Schnabel and Ed Ruscha along with print stalwarts Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg.

A striking aspect of the LAPS expo was the broad variety of printmaking techniques used by the artists. Ken Webb's "Angel (triptych)" is a photo-etching digital print. Michael Barnes combined lithography and collagraphic calligraphy in his graphic work, "The Serenade" Jenny Freestone's "Vistige, Sue," is a drypoint intaglio print, while Joan Nelson presented a lithograph/screen print, "Untitled (River)."

"In looking at nearly 1,300 submissions by some 325 artists, I was struck not only by their thoughtful beauty but also by the profound ways in which printmaking necessarily engages art with technology and in doing so inevitably invokes questions about process and distribution," wrote Exposition Curator David Rodes in his introduction to the exhibit. Rodes is the director of the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts at UCLA's Hammer Museum. …

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