(3) Portfolio of prints (work in progress)
(5) My Janus file: Some impressions of
TO THE LIGHTHOUSE by Virginia Woolf

Saturday, November 7, 2009


International fine print dealers assoiation -

A printmaker's experience includes a must-see trip to such high profile annual international dealer exhibits as above - this week held at the Park Avenue Armory in NYC.    I went to meet dealers in their booths showing prints from their collections.   The experience is both awesome and daunting.  Yet, the likelyhood of finding an affordable print that one wants is still possible.  I saw the one I want  - I have had a reproduction of it since the 1960s, rarely seen in your everyday New York Museum!   I will place it at the end of the posting.

Entering the Armory is like entering a cave these days.  It was so dark, just enough light to get you through the entrance and transparent door,  hiding the rich antiquity of the foyer itself.    My friend and blogger, Elizabeth, has posted her take on this historic part of the venue, as well as views of different categories of the prints themselves.   Do visit Elizabeth's blog at THE WORLD EXAMINING WORKS   There you will also see a wonderful demonstration of sand painting by an impressive photo of a monk.

My interest, today, is in what appears to be a trend to bring back the narrative print in a format borrowed
from the limited edition homemade book tradition.  In particular, I was drawn to a showcase on the wall
showing the work of Marcus Rees Roberts, whose reading of the poet Paul Celan inspired these pages - the poetry formed by "fragments, repetitions, hesitations and abrupt halts".  These have the title Draft For A Landscape 11, 2009, evocative of the Ukrainian forest, a compelling image found in Celan's early work.   Mixed media, collage, chalk, oil, acrylic, varnish and pencil on Somerset Soft White paper in full linen case binding.    Gloomy, but I like the expressive imagery.

Published Pratt Contemporary, 2009

Last year I recall visiting an exhaustive Asian Print exhibit hosted by the New York Public Library in which the narrative form, an ancient tradition, was shown in long glass cases - unrolled prints depicting historic events.  Today, I saw framed and unframed prints that unfolded - then refolded into a book once perused.    One, a delicately constructed invention, as seen below.

Another framed, sequential print below (volunteering the occasional balloon with a cerebral message) - with imagery and messages,  needed closer examination than the time I could give it.  But the idea of changing the shape of the traditional print format did catch my attention.

To see more great contemporary prints - particularly the new work of Robert Kushner (two lithographs and a group of monotypes) whose flower prints are stunning, go to the website of SHARK'S INK .  There you will find a number of 'emerged' artist's (in the last 40 years) whose work is inventive, experimental and worth a look.    All these sites are interesting to look at if you are a printmaker, collector or just love to look at prints.

Enlarge to read message!

There were one or two limited editions of handmade illustrated books, the illustrations of which could be expanded lengthwise upon opening the book to visually tell the story of, say, a memorable day in baseball!  Like Willie Mays and his famous catch!

There was another book form that was new to me - a pile of sturdy pages that opened like a concertina (like the early computer printout copy paper) containing hand painted/printed illustrations of a childrens story.  They look too good to touch, for the price asked, but assurances are that, today, the materials used will withstand a good deal of handling.  

And, lastly, the print that surprised me, that took my breath away  (simply
because a copy of it had been in my files for so long) was Otto Mueller's YELLOW BATHERS - a lithograph (size 332 x 442 mm) printed from 3 stones in black, yellow and cobalt blue.  A German Expressionist (1874-1930), the artist did this in 1921.  Price tag:  $68,000.00!  Yes, I want that one.

One of my own first variations on this theme and style of drawing was done as a woodcut.  However,  it did not proceed beyond making one or two proofs, handprinted on newsprint paper!    

I believe I saw YELLOW BATHERS at the booth of the Davidson Galleries - another good website to look at.


  1. How wonderful for you to be able to share your passion with so many other enthusiasts.

  2. Interesting exhibit. Never been to the armory, even though I passed by it many times.


  3. What an exciting exhibit, the works you show in your photos are very interesting. I can see why you like that print, it is very striking. And a bargain at $68,000!!

  4. Robert used to work with Bernard Pratt of Pratt Contemporary.
    We have been friends with them for 30+ years



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