Currently at the Cleveland Museum of Art is an exhibit that displays modern printmaking at it’s best. While some artists represented use printmaking to comment on contemporary political events, others use the medium to express personal, feminist concerns, traditional landscape themes, and figurative subjects. Abstraction also remains important. Explore the following artist links to see books in our Fine Arts Department on some of the printmakers featured in the exhibit:
Part of the nature of print is that it exists as a multiple. Some see this as a negative, lessening the unique value of each. But from another perspective, it is reassuring to have more than one for the world to share. And technological developments make them more varied and accessible than ever. Each print medium has special characteristics that bring out certain qualities of line or texture in the work of artists. Variations in physical characteristics of the materials lend themselves to strong or soft line, smooth or rough texture. A woodcut, with grain and unexpected irregularities is often used for expressionistic rough lined images. An artist cutting into softer linoleum will move more smoothly and find lines well suited for more sensitive flowing subject matter. The various advantages of each traditional medium such as etching, woodcut, silk screen, and lithography have all been explored and refined through the hands and notes of many printmakers over the past century.
Print artists can now choose from an enormous variety of materials or combine them in for a remarkable variety of imagery. Printmaking has morphed into a interdisciplinary world of images and ideas where new and old technologies intermingle. It is a challenging and diverse field of expression where artists are bringing together ideas and technique in new dynamic ways. Over recent decades printmakers have absorbed the capabilities of many new ways of working with photography, digital inkjet printers, laser cutters, CNC machine tools, and many other devices.
“The history of print reveals the continuing ability of this art form to thrive and function outside a prevailing mainstream, whether it is a ukiyo-e woodcut or a fin de siecle poster. With globalisation, this inherent role seems even more pertinent. and far removed from the notion of a singular graphic world.” ~ Tessa Sidey, 26th Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts