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Artists Image Resource, Pittsburgh, Pa., exhibited two projects led by Curlee Raven Holton, professor and head of art and director of Lafayette’s Experimental Printmaking Institute (EPI), Aug. 29-Sept. 24. The highly praised exhibits were the result of collaborations among Holton, Lafayette students, and featured artists and printmakers.

“Visitors will not only find quality works that exemplify the best in modern-day printmaking techniques, but the added bonus that many of them were created by some of the most talented and esteemed African-American artists working today,” states the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Three prints by Holton round out the show, displaying a multitude of techniques as well as exemplifying the kind of dedication it has taken to produce not only such work, but such a commendable program.”

At noon this Wednesday, Holton and Melissa Spitz ’06 (Livingston, N.J.) will give a presentation on one of the projects, The Master Artist/Master Printmaker Portfolio, at Williams Center for the Arts room 108.

Atlanta’s High Museum of Art recently acquired an EPI-produced print of David C. Driskell’s African Woman, Windows, August 2004. Commissioned by University of Maryland’s David C. Driskell Center For The Study of The Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and The African Diaspora, the piece is a combination monotype and relief. Originally cut in woodblock in 1969, it was printed by Holton and Nicole Kozyra ’05 for the first time in 2004 in an edition of 50.

The Master Artist/Master Printmaker Portfolio was a two-year project that involved the creation of new work by internationally renowned master artists and master printmakers. Eight master artists were paired with eight master printmakers to experiment with traditional and digital printmaking media to produce a limited edition of prints. The master artists included Emma Amos, Richard Anuszkiewicz, David C. Driskell, Sam Gilliam, Grace Hartigan, Bodo Korsig, Faith Ringgold, and Kay Walkingstick. The master printmakers were Holton, John Phillips, Robert Beckman and Ian Short, Wayne Crothers, Jean Paul Russell, Quentin Moseley, John Dowell, and Allan Edmunds. Lafayette and the Pittsburgh Foundation provided funding for the project.

Lafayette students were involved in all aspects of the project. Spitz, Kozyra, Caitlin Chandler ’06 (Durham, N.H.), Maya Freelon ’05, Zoe Gavriilidis ’05, and Chris Metzgar ’03 worked with some of today’s most accomplished printmakers and artists to create distinctive and important images. They also traveled to the artists’ studios and other institutions involved with the project, developing valuable professional relationships.

Holton began the project as a way to recognize and celebrate the long tradition of artist-printmaker collaborations. The portfolio also included individual works created by the master printmakers alone.

“This is unique in that the master printer is given the same status, importance, and artistic value that is traditionally afforded the artist,” Holton says. “The result is unique, innovative, and creatively stimulating works that compliment each other as a group as well as stand alone as visual testimonies of the talent and skills acquired over years by the dedicated practice of the printmaker.”

Another AIR exhibit, African American Artists from the Experimental Printmaking Institute Collection, featured works by African American artists, reflecting EPI’s goal of fostering the creation of artistic works by underrepresented artists of color. Although the works represented only a small portion of the collection, they were some of its most important pieces. The exhibit was a multi-generational representation including historically important artists as well as contemporary and emerging ones.

“These artists and their careers represent over eight decades of determination and faith in their creative potentials and contribution to the cultural legacy of America,” Holton says.

The Williams Center for the Arts Gallery and the David A. Portlock Black Cultural Center Gallery will jointly feature David C. Driskell: Reflections and Memories Jan. 27-March 12, 2006. The exhibition will include paintings, prints, and collages reflecting the artist’s complex experiences with race in the United States. African Woman, Windows will be part of the show. Scott Habes, associate director of the Driskell Center and director of The Art Gallery at University of Maryland, will curate the exhibition.

Since Holton founded Lafayette’s Experimental Printmaking Institute in 1996, it has provided an open and creative environment for professional artists and students to create new bodies of work while investigating and experimenting with a wide variety of approaches to the print medium. The Institute’s artist-in-residence and visiting artist programs have brought more than 50 professional artists to campus, many with international reputations. EPI’s exhibitions and international exchanges have introduced a broad range of artists and contemporary printmaking trends to members of the Lafayette community and beyond.

A member of the Lafayette faculty since 1991, Holton has mounted more than 30 one-person shows and has participated in more than 75 group exhibitions, including at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, Seventh International Biennale in Cairo, Centro de Cultura Casa Lamm Gallery in Mexico City, and most recently in Osaka and Tokyo, Japan. Holton had etchings selected for inclusion in the collections of the Library of Congress and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. His works are in the collections of several universities, foundations, and corporations, including the Cleveland Museum of Art, the West Virginia Governor’s Mansion, Morehouse College, and the FundaciĆ³n Cultural Rodolfo Morales in Oaxaca, Mexico.

He has mentored many Lafayette students in printmaking, bookmaking, drawing, and painting. As part of the Community of Scholars program, he oversaw the completion of a mural that three students created for installation in Farinon College Center. Using photographic images from the past and present, and original works that envision the future, Freelon,Gavriilidis, and Kozyra created a 130-foot montage.

Holton has participated in several residencies and special projects and has served as curator for a dozen exhibitions. He is the author of Faith Ringgold: A View from the Studio, a book published in conjunction with an exhibition of Ringgold’s art at Allentown Art Museum. His The Spirit of the Blues was the official image of Easton Blues Jam 2005. He created 40 limited-edition prints as a fundraiser for the event. With a print size of 22 by 30 inches and an image size of 18 by 26 inches, the prints were signed by Holton and included a letter of authenticity.

He holds an M.F.A. from Kent State University and a B.F.A. from Cleveland Institute of Fine Arts. He was the 1999 recipient of Lafayette’s Carl R. and Ingeborg Beidleman Research Award, recognizing excellence in applied research or scholarship.

Categorized in: Academic News