Saturday, March 28, 2009

Art 376 extra credit: Ink and Clay

Ink and Clay at the Cal Poly Pomona art Gallery is an exhibition showcasing artworks made either by using printmaking, drawing, or clay. The exhibition held a large variety of sculpture and printmaking artworks, both traditional and non traditional in approach. For purposes of this class I will be focusing only on the print artworks. The exhibition showcased many different types of prints, from relief, to intaglio, to photo processes, to even silkscreen on glass. Many prints caught my eye, for instance Dave Lefners impressive reduction linocut titled “The Orpheum.” This print is a relatively large triptych featuring the old-time theater utilizing a primary color structure. I was very impressed by Lefners precision, his ability to create clean precise shapes through the tedious reduction cut process. The shiny electric lit theater makes a perfect subject matter for Lefners tightly registered, hard edge aesthetic. Another impressive linocut and my favorite of the exhibition is Mariko Ishii’s “Sound of Breeze.” Counter to Lefner’s crisp pop art aesthetic, Ishii’s print is a descendant of impressionism. Ishii beautifully and meticulously crafted forest scene is replete with small gouged marks that build up to render the foliage of the desolate forest. What I found most interesting is how the many marks all serve to build form and to dissolve form at the same time. The hundreds of small marks create the illusion of foliage, however the excess of the similar marks simultaneously blur and dissipate the illusionist space. I was also impressed by how much movement she is able to capture with the linocut. It is very easy for a painter to create velocity with a gestural brushstroke, however to recreate the same momentum in a linocut takes great skill. The viewer definitely can hear the “sound of a breeze” in this print and seemingly one can see the breeze as the maelstrom of small marks swirl and sway and the layering of inks pushes and pulls space. Another beautiful piece inspired by the landscape is Nathan Abel's etching and chin colle entitled “Decaying Accession.” This relatively small piece is a haunting rendition of a landscape in black and white. This is not a beautiful landscape of the impressionists, this is a gloomy almost apocalyptic view of the expansive scenery. This landscape is in a state of flux. The blurry hazy mass of marks build up to create some type of force, whether real or surreal that overtakes the landscape. The only sign of humanity is an upright ladder on the left of the print. The ambiguity of the position of the ladder, adds a surrealist layer to the piece. The haziness of the print also makes it seem as if the landscape is a remembered one, a dreamt one, one that is not concrete. The intangible quality makes the print a very haunting piece. I was very inspired to see all of the prints, especially the great lino and reduction cuts. Overall I felt the exhibition had a very nice representation of printmakers and sculptors. There were numerous other great prints and sculptures to view, these three prints were the ones that garnered the most attention from me. Ink and Clay runs up until May 22 at Cal Poly Pomona.

-Andrew Armas

1 comment:

  1. Andrew - A really beautifully written meditation on this exhibition - for which I thank you.
    I have an interesting article on Dave Lefner's work from the LA Times to share with you all when class starts again. Hope finding a place to park at Cal Poly Pomona wasn't too major an ordeal!