Oct 292008
Authors: Kelli Pryor

People slowly and deliberately stopped and studied each new art piece that hung in the Curfman Gallery Friday, occasionally pausing to have discussion with friends.

Stan Scott, a graduate fine arts student and the director of the Lory Student Center Arts Program, said this discussion is exactly what he hoped to see coming from the gallery.

“We want to break the stereotype of what art is,” he said. “Art doesn’t always have to be highbrow.”

Walking into the new exhibit, an almost floor-to-ceiling, fire engine red print depicts a man surrounded by knives and punctured by actual bullet holes. To the left, an American flag with a crow perched upon it, drips red from its stripes. To the right, two prints of a TIME magazine cover displaying the face of OJ Simpson, questions his guilt or innocence.

Each art piece in the exhibit differs from one another in size, color and subject matter; however, each piece was created using techniques unique to printmaking.

The “Contemporary Printmakers Exhibition” at the Curfman Gallery, which will be open through Dec. 4, features artists from Flatbed Press, a professional print shop in Austin, Texas.

“We don’t get a chance to exhibit artists of this caliber all the time,” Scott said.

Printmaking is the process of transferring original images from one surface, such as wood or copper, to paper by inking them and pressing onto the paper. This process can be used for reproduction of artwork.

Professional print shops, like Flatbed Press, work with artists to create their prints.

“The artist makes all the creative decisions but collaborates with the master printer in transferring the design to paper,” said Katherine Brimberry, co-founder and master printer of Flatbed Press.

After the artist creates the initial design, other creative decisions, such as ink color, paper type and amount of pressure applied, must still be made.

For every color seen in a print, Brimberry said it is likely that the artist created an individual plate for each one.

She stressed that the making of an artistic print lays half in the creation of the plate by the artist and half in the actual printing process.

“Which colors? What order to press the plates? It all matters,” she said.

“When I started [printing] 20 years ago, I had no idea how much I’d love collaborating,” Brimberry said. “It is really exciting for me to do things with artists we have never done before.”

The Curfman Gallery and the LSC Arts Program invited Flatbed Press to exhibit their artists’ work so CSU students could gain exposure to a variety of art mediums, focuses and processes.

“We want to show the gamut of art,” Scott said. “Flatbed Press encompasses a lot of these goals.”

“When I was a student, professional exhibits influenced me greatly,” Brimberry said. “It gave me a look at what happened in a professional print shop.”

For the exhibit, Brimberry brought a sampling of works from artists who have worked with Flatbed Press that she felt represented many aspects of printmaking. Included in the collection are two works from artist Bob Schneider.

Schneider depicts the image of a woman, aptly titled “Woman,” in one of his works and a man, titled “Man,” in the other.

Schneider’s print, “Man,” shows his view of the many different aspects of men’s essence. The word “fearlessness” and the phrase “the best thing a man can hope for is to be born without principle” are emblazoned on his chest.

Drew Nolte, a graduate poetry student was one of the CSU students whose curiosity led them to the exhibit.

Nolte, who earned his undergraduate degree in commercial art, said he was interested in seeing the work of professional printmakers because it is a hobby that he has taken up.

“I do a lot of home printing,” he said.

The Flatbed Press exhibit is better known than many of the exhibits usually presented at the gallery, which usually displays artists from Colorado.

“With help we are able to bring larger shows with prominence in art [to the Curfman Gallery],” Scott said.

Scott applied for the Lilla B. Morgan Grant to cover the cost of the exhibit, including shipping costs and gallery rental fees, among other things. Most of the art exhibited is for sale as well, Scott said.

Brimberry said she was glad CSU invited her print shop to display its artwork, saying, “let’s make art.”

Staff writer Kelli Pryor can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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