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An exhibition illustrating the collaboration between Curlee Raven Holton, director of the Experimental Printmaking Institute (EPI) and associate professor of art, and his students opens Saturday at Foreland Street Studio in Pittsburgh, Pa.

“Selections from the Collection of the Experimental Printmaking Institute at Lafayette College” features recent prints chosen by Holton. Selections from his series on sex and procreation, “The Birth Book,” join works by artists such as Faith Ringgold, Al Loving, and Sam Gilliam, whom Holton encouraged to explore printmaking, a genre outside for their typical media. Others include Lafayette art faculty members Ed Kerns, Eugene H. Clapp II ’36 Professor of Art, and Jim Toia, director of the Grossman Gallery at Lafayette’s Williams Visual Arts Building. Several of the artists in the exhibition, including Ringgold and Gilliam, are members of EPI’s advisory committee.

“The artist may be doing the printing, but the students are always supporting,” Holton explained in an Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article previewing the exhibition. “Development is collaborative, in a wide-open studio so it’s not isolated, and the artists feed off the dialogue. The process is communal.”

Holton established the Experimental Printmaking Institute in 1996, hosting more than 30 artists’ residencies. “We try to show a range of work, from new, young artists as well as established artists,” he added. “The workshop is designed to bring those artists together.”

The catalog for the exhibition was written by Robert Mattison, who earlier this month was named Marshall R. Metzgar Professor of Art, a newly endowed chair at Lafayette that will take effect in the 2001-2002 school year.

“Through the EPI program, scores of Lafayette students have been taught printmaking techniques, not only as a result of regular classroom activities, but more importantly, through their collaborative involvement with professional artists,” writes Mattison. “EPI has produced 15 publications; provided for 13 extended Master Artist summer sessions; developed 16 exhibitions; and sponsored seven exchange projects, several of which were coordinated in conjunction with artists and institutions in Mexico and the Caribbean. By any measure, Curlee Holton has created an ambitious, wide-reaching, and extremely successful program.”

“Over the past five years, Curlee has designed and directed the Artist-in-Residence Program, the Visiting Artist Program, and the Student Apprentice Program,” Mattison notes. “These initiatives have brought numerous talented artists to campus, provided an environment that allows them to make their best possible work, and most significantly, allowed close contact between the students and those artists. In Curlee’s words, the overall goal is ‘to provide an open and creative environment in which artists and students can create new bodies of work while investigating experimental approaches to the print medium.'”

Holton has received numerous awards and grants for his artwork and research. He received his bachelor’s degree in drawing and printmaking from the Cleveland Institute of Fine Arts, and joined the Lafayette faculty in 1991. Holton’s areas of interest and expertise include printmaking, African American art history, drawing, and painting. He has mounted more than 30 one-person shows and participated in more than 75 group exhibitions, including the Seventh International Biennale at the National Center of Fine Arts, Cairo, and shows at Centro de Cultura Casa Lamm Gallery, Mexico City. His works are in the collections of several universities, foundations, and corporations. Holton has served as curator for more than a dozen exhibitions, authored many articles and essays, and presented numerous papers.

Holton will attend the opening reception, which will be held 7-9 p.m. Saturday. Gallery hours are 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. The gallery can be contacted by calling (412) 321-8664.

Categorized in: Academic News