Sally Alatalo, Frank Barasotti, Jane Calvin, Bill Cass, Barbara Crane, Mark Durant, Fred Endsley, Joan Flasch, Doug Huston, Angela Kelly, Linda King, Silvia Malagrino, Ray Martin, Barbara Lazarus Metz, Danny Miller, Michael Miller, Chang Sik Moon, Joyce Neimanas, Tom Pertillo, Mimi Plumb-Chambers, and Karen Savage.
Curated by Fred Endsley and Karen Savage, this exhibition brought together work by faculty members from the School of the Art Institute Chicago’s (SAIC) Printmaking and Photography Departments in an effort to showcase the creative reaction between photography and printmaking in contemporary art. The exhibition displayed both the the fluid relationship enjoyed between these two departments at the School, and the creative alchemy that results when these two media are successfully blended, or juxtaposed.
The emphasis of the original Ink and Silver (1977) exhibition at SAIC was on the manipulation of the photographic image through a variety of alterations to the silver print or through non-silver techniques. In Ink & Silver 2 the artists introduced new technologies brought on by the computer revolution as well as re-introduced the body and nature as themes for exploration.
Danny Miller‘s dystopian oil paintings envisioned the joining of nature and technology, and artist Linda King‘s monoprints and collage prints foreground the difference between sign and nature. King probed the irony of making a scenic trip, by printing maps and road signs which as abstract representations removed the viewer from a primary experience of the natural landscape. Chang Sik Moon‘s relief etchings, particularly his “beat of burden” laden with technological paraphernalia, also reflected the growing concern for human interaction with natural environments.
Barbara Crane‘s unaltered silver prints, displayed as a grid of 200 were an ecological reference to fungi, which situated these natural forms as both humorous and displaced from the human body. Silva Malagrino‘s large assemblages of photograms, enhanced with chemical manipulation and applied pigment, recalled the two technologies of tracing the human body, – the “finger print” and the “X-ray.”
Joyce Neimanas‘ life-size, free-standing, cut-out figures inhabited the exhibition space. Set on faux-marble pedestals, with various garments (covered in black pigment), the statues were photograms that combined already existing imagery from high art and popular culture. The sculptures emphasized bodily pose: the silhouette of gesticulating, classical Greek or Roman statues were rendered as a black shadow, over which was printed a negative photogram of stereotypically posed men or women culled from life-size posters of body-builders and scantily clad women. This cultural juxtaposition challenged myths surrounding male and female representation, behavior and their role in consumer society.
Mimi Plumb-Chambers‘ large black and white prints were ambiguous scenarios of human interaction. Karen Savage‘s serial presentation of found and altered photographs presented curious mementos of times past and present regrets. Angela Kelly embedded text and collages photographs in her work that depicted the aftermath of a deadly fire that killed her parents and partially destroyed her family home in Ireland. Text and image were used as signifiers for real life loss, pain and healing.
Frank Barsotti made large color digital prints in which male and female nudes, classical Italian sculpture, and remnants of religious icons were juxtaposed. Issues concerning nature and the body as well as introspection and process prevailed in Basotti’s works. The relationship between Man and Nature was the point of reference in Fred Endsley‘s “Rodeo Series.” Endsley’s large photo-murals of sequential computer images depicted a cowboy being bucked off a horse. As asserted by the exhibition curator, “The image’s ‘look’ shifted from overt quotation of traditional Western figures to a humorous, awkward moment, near abstraction.”
Jane Calvin presented one of her ephemeral projected light “collages.” Through her work the artist created two interrelated dialectics: one between the viewer and objects placed between the projector and the surface receiving the cast image, and the other between the actual objects and imagery projected from slides. The visual results varied with the viewer’s position. Doug Huston‘s large figural cut-out examined the lowly icons of popular culture by appropriating comic strip imagery and re-presenting it using a variety of means including digital images, drawing and silkscreen. Exploring the notion of trace and the effect of light on light-sensitive surfaces Tom Petrillo‘s Lake Effect Series produced visual records of wave patterns. His work aimed to record and objectify the beauties of nature’s substances like water.
In the exhibition Michael Miller, Mark Durant, and Jane Calvin expanded on the idea of printmaking and used installation as a means of presentation. Miller made use of the already existing niches in the gallery space to place two groups of prints, small line etchings and larger monochromatic woodcuts.
Bill Cass‘ work imagined a world populated by ghosts from his past. This imagined world was delineated using traditional artistic materials. Cass’ etchings straddled Metaphysical art and Surrealism in their arcane combination of figures, flora, partial objects, and geometrical-figural “puppets.”
In contradiction to Cass’s inner fantasies, Ray Martin probed facial expression and gesture, physio-gnomic clues for inner mental states: he combined photo lithography and monoprint, juxtaposed to text, which objectified such human traits as “compassion,” “cowardice,” “greed,” “despair,” and “altruism.” These prints were actually pages from his artist’s book, At Issue. Martin also exhibited a bound copy of his artist book High Gloss 3 in which lists of human traits, poetry relating to these lists and imagery appropriated from old magazines were interspersed through out.
Bookmaking artist Sally Alatalo exhibited volume six, number two of her artist book series titled DuDa. Her books delivered an ironic juxtaposing of image and text, reducing the text to sentences, words and then using them to form concrete poetry. Barbara Lazarus Metz, another book artist, used the process of bookmaking as the content for her work. In her work boutique paper was cut and folded so that when the book was opened it formed a circular shape with a gradually ascending climb in book height. Thus this single edition book violated the standard conventions. Similarly, Joan Flasch‘s artist book production also foregrounded the constructed nature of the book, in particular its binding.