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Prints and artwork appear in exhibits and collections in Maine and New York

Prints and artwork produced at the College’s Experimental Printmaking Institute (EPI) have been included in a number of upcoming and current exhibits in the northeast.

EPI has produced eight original serigraph prints by artist Faith Ringgold for Letter from Birmingham City Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr., which will be shown at a public reception for Ringgold Wednesday, Nov. 28 at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY. The Portland Museum of Art, in Portland, Maine, has recently acquired Yoruba Couple, a print EPI produced for artist and scholar David C. Driskell. Finally, Curlee Raven Holton, professor and head of art and founding director of EPI, will give a talk about EPI Thursday, Nov. 29 from 7 – 8:30 p.m. as part of the “Selections from the Experimental Printmaking Institute” exhibit at The Ink Shop Printmaking Center and Olive Branch Press, Ithaca, N.Y.

EPI produced each of the eight prints for Letter from Birmingham City Jail in a series of 600 to be hand bound in an edition of books and portfolios. The text is to be hand-set lettertype. EPI began working with The Limited Editions Club of New York City last spring to produce the prints. Each print is hand-pulled and contains an average of 13 colors per print.

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, of the New York Public Library, is a national research library devoted to collecting, preserving and providing access to resources documenting the history and experiences of peoples of African descent throughout the world. Today, the Schomburg Center contains over 5,000,000 items and provides services and programs for constituents from the United States and abroad.

The Limited Editions Club has issued more than 600 editions over the last 78 years using the talents of a tremendous variety of artists, printers, designers, and binders. Other books published by the Limited Editions Club include Jacob Lawrence’s Genesis, an edition of 400, Picasso’s Lysistrata, and Thomas Hart Benton books.

Ringgold, an acclaimed artist and author, began her artistic career more than 40 years ago as a painter and is best known today for her painted story quilts—art that combines printing, quilted fabric, and storytelling. She was a tenured professor in the visual art department at the University of California at San Diego for 17 years until her retirement in 2002 and has served as an artist-in-residence at Lafayette’s Experimental Printmaking Institute.

Ringgold’s first book, Tar Beach, was a Caldecott Honor Book and winner of the Coretta Scott King Award for illustration. She has written and illustrated more than a dozen children’s books in addition to books for an adult audience. Her work is in the permanent collection of many museums, including the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Museum of Modern Art. She has received more than 75 awards, fellowships, citations, and honors, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Fellowship for painting, two National Endowment for the Arts Awards, and 16 honorary doctorates.

Ringgold has a close relationship with EPI. Holton is the author of Faith Ringgold: A View from the Studio (2005), which was published in conjunction with Ringgold’s exhibition at the Allentown Art Museum. Holton and Ringgold have worked together on several projects since 1993.

Driskell’s Yoruba Couple uses a combination of printing methods to create a uniquely textured surface that relates to the artist’s painting technique. The artwork was printed in an edition of 100. Art major Carolyn Burns ’09 (Wallingford, Conn.) was the assistant printer working under the direction of Holton.

Artist and scholar Driskell is regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on African American art. Driskell was born in 1931 in Eatonton, Ga., and educated at Howard University where he earned his undergraduate degree and then went on to get his M.F.A. from Catholic University in Washington D.C. In 1976, Driskell opened his groundbreaking exhibition, “Two Centuries of Black American Art,” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Since 1977, Driskell has served as cultural advisor to Camille and Bill Cosby and curator of the Cosby Collection of Fine Arts. In 1998, the University of Maryland established the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the African Diaspora. He has been a practicing artist since the 1950s and has exhibited his work widely around the world. He is highly sought after as a major stained glass artist. In December of 2000, President Bill Clinton bestowed the National Humanities Medal on Driskell.

The Experimental Printmaking Institute began working with David Driskell in 2002 when he was the Temple Visiting Artist and Scholar at Lafayette.

As the largest art museum in the state of Maine, the Portland Museum of Art serves as a vital cultural resource for all who visit. The museum’s collection of more than 18,000 objects is housed in three historic and remarkable buildings showcasing three centuries of art and architecture. With constantly changing exhibitions and a permanent collection, it offers a diverse selection of fine and decorative arts is always on view.

Holton’s lecture at the Ink Shop will focus on EPI’s of innovation and creativity in printmaking. The ongoing exhibition will run through Jan. 14. It showcases some of the works created by EPI in collaboration with renowned artists such as Richard Anuszkiewicz, Elizabeth Catlett, Allan Rohan Crite, Driskell, Sam Gilliam, Grace Hartigan, Lois Mailou Jones, and Ringgold. Collectively, these artists challenge the prevailing notions in printmaking about color, style, and technique. They share energy, ingenuity, and a passion for experimentation. Included are prints, etchings, lithographs, serigraphs, monotypes, and hand made artists’ books.

EPI was established in 1996 to promote research and experimentation within the print medium. Since its inception, the EPI visiting artist and artist in residence programs have introduced students to over 50 artists from diverse cultural and social backgrounds. The visiting artists have provided students with talented, well educated, and ambitious role models. Their residencies have inspired print editions, experimental works, and artists’ books.

Holton is a master printmaker and educator who has received numerous awards and grants. He has exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Seventh International Biennale, Cairo, Egypt; and most recently in Osaka and Tokyo, Japan. Holton has taught African-American art history and printmaking at the College since 1991.

The Ink Shop Printmaking Center & Olive Branch Press is a not-for-profit printmakers’ center, fine art press and gallery, which offers professional facilities for the making of fine art prints. They provide a range of equipment, including etching, lithography, proofing and letter presses, a small darkroom and computer imaging equipment. The Olive Branch Press prints editions and handmade books. As a regional resource for printmaking, The Ink Shop offers workshops for professionals and the community. The Shop also organizes collaborative projects, group and exchange exhibitions and maintains a slide registry for collectors and curators.

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