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Plate Tectonics: Shaking up the Art world
through the Printed Image

An exhibition of prints by the members of the
California Society of Printmakers

October 9 - 25, 2009
Reception: Friday, October 9, 2009 / 6-10 p.m.
Sponsored by Trumer Pils

Since the very beginning of printmaking, multiple images have been used to spread radical thought, dissent and ideology across communities. Albrecht Durer's woodcuts revolutionized the use of the medium and have influenced European printmakers throughout the centuries. In Japan the prints of the Ukiyo-e (pictures of the Floating World) from the seventeenth century onwards, have taken as their subject ideas and images which have been traditionally taboo in conservative Japanese society. The theatre, political satire, prostitution and ephemeral beauty were all subjects depicted in these works, and the fact that they could be mass produced quickly made them even more subversive.

During the 1930s, the era of the Depression and the New Deal, American artists transformed printmaking into one of the decade's most exciting forms of art. As a cheap, vital, and egalitarian means of artistic expression, prints came close to realizing the ideal of creating "art for the millions." The Feminist movement relied heavily upon mass produced work to spread its ideas and aesthetics following in the footsteps of Hannah Hoch. More contemporaneously, the graphic work of artists such as Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Roy Lichtenstein takes a subtle swipe and politics and gender issues, while at the same time expanding the notion of what a "print" actually is. Rauschenberg in particular, played with form and scale to a degree that few other artists have within the medium. Artist's books have long been a site for intimate portrayal, acting almost as little fetish objects where the artist can explore seduction through the act of simply turning the page. By using the print medium in a way that is supple and inclusive, artists can produce works of exceptional beauty imbued with deep meaning and social relevance.

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Mike Kimball
Mark Welschmeyer
Mark Avery
  California Society of Printmakers