Monday, April 26, 2010

Orit Hofshi--my visit to Culver City

Sunday April 10, 2010 I went to George Billis Gallery on La Ceinega in Culver City to view the prints of noted Israeli Printmaker Orit Hofshi exhibtion: Between the Lines. It's so much better to view these images in person, because of their large scale. Two images used eight plates and the third image used four. They were all printed with a brown ink with tanish color paper. The two images across from each other “Serrate“ and “Venue“ were made in 2002, while “Flash” was made in 2004.

At first glance her prints remind me of the American dust bowl of the 1930’s. The print “Flash” is the only image with a figure. She holds her arms up to express her anguish of what lies in front of her. She wears a dress and is not facing the viewer. There is a sense of movement because her dress and hair move to the side. This image is the only one with some open space. It looks like it could be the open sky above and water below. The smaller image "Serrate" looks like it could be close up of the image "Venue" that is directly across from it. These two images are of mounds of dirt and possibly traces of grass. There seems to be a path. So you infer that maybe the figure in the other image might have been trying to get somewhere. She might be trying to find help or a way to escape from this place. They all look like they are from the same desolate area that was destroyed by wind and erosion. They are all inked without perfection and the borders are not clean and sets a mood this is not the concern of the artist. I liked all three images especially of the texture from lines and the simplicity of her images. I also like her theme about nature and man's struggles within it.

Here is a link to her website:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dirk Hagner's Woodcuts & Screen Prints

This printmaking exhibition will be at the Rivera & Rivera Gallery, 1100 South Hope Street, Los Angeles. The reception/opening is on 4/22/2010 (Thursday) and will run from 7 - 10 PM.

While I think that Julie Mehretu's richly complex & layered work is among the best I've ever seen, it dismayed me to learn that she had taken a major commission from this financial giant at the heart of our current economic debacle. (See the New Yorker article titled: "Big Art, Big Money" from 3/29 for further info.) True to the populist foundations of printmaking, Dirk Hagner offers a visual critique on the mess, rather than profiting considerably from it. In the words of Joe Matunis, Director of Los Muralistas de El Puente in Brooklyn, NYC: "It's a pity that an artist as talented as Julie Mehretu cannot imagine other possibilities for herself as an artist than to take millions from Goldman Sachs and 'just hope it will feel O.K. over time."'

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Woodcuts of Orit Hofshi at the George Billis Gallery by Robert Palmer

My drive to the George Billis Gallery in Culver City, California last Friday took me on a nostalgic trek up La Cienega Blvd. to West Los Angeles, an old stomping ground of mine in my 20’s and 30’s. The journey on La Cienega from the 405 freeway to the gallery was a typical LA stop and go exercise, which on the plus side, gave me time to reflect on landmarks that conjured up visions of my wilder years. Once at my destination, I found the front door open inviting visitors into a nice but somewhat casual space. Working my way through a display of contemporary paintings and guests, I found myself in a small back room of the gallery where I encountered 3 rather large woodblock prints by the Israeli artist Orit Hofshi. The giant brown monochrome prints filled the space and gave the viewer an eery sense of being transported to a stark alien landscape. The artist’s use of bold tool marks, dark brown color and images of vast barren landscapes gave the works an aggressive masculine characteristic. The prints were displayed in typical print shop fashion, unframed or matted hung simply by small binder clips along the top edge of the prints. The white walls were void of an artist’s statement or cards with the artist’s name and title of the works.
On a quest for detailed information about the works and the artist, I waited patiently until the young gentleman behind the counter, in the center of the galley, was finished talking to a couple of lady patrons. After the ladies walked away, I approached the counter and asked, “could you tell me the titles of the woodcuts and the artist’s name. Also, do you have any additional information about him”? The young man, who looked like an artist himself - that is what my idea a 2010 artist is suppose to look like, quickly replied, “ Ms. Hofshi is an Israeli artist and the works are titled Flash, the print with the figure, Venue, the horizontal landscape and Serrate, the vertical landscape”. I countered with an apology saying, “I’m sorry but I thought because of the heavy aggressive nature of the images that the artist was a male”. To that the young man, who’s name is Jose Lopez the gallery’s assistant director, said, “yes a lot of people think the artist is a man, however she is a soft spoken articulate lady who has told me that she takes out her aggression in her works”. He said, “Hofshi confided in me that as a result of the holocaust, wars and the terrorist attacks her people have endured she has no living family or relatives. It is these feelings of angst that she is conveying in her bold expansive desolated landscapes.” Jose went on to tell me that Hofshi’s prints are made from multiple planks of pine that she butts up together and then inks and prints all of them at one time by hand using the back of a spoon as a barren. He said “the planks do not lay flat, so running them through a press is impossible”.
After my conversation with Jose, I went back to the room with Hofshi’s prints for a closer look. All three prints depicted a similar barren landscape of a dried out river bed winding its way through a rocky undulating canyon. But of the three prints the one titled “Flash” which incorporates a figure in the upper right with arms raised towards the heavens and back to the wind that captivated me. The figure, neither male or female, is staring out towards the dry riverbed as if calling on God to save mankind from itself. In this print unlike the others, Hofshi incorporates large sections of inked but uncarved wood on the top and bottom of the print that immediately call attention to the medium. It’s almost as if the image was etched into the side of an old barn by a divine force. The grain of the wood and its imperfections enhance the aesthetic quality of the work. Having heard the story of Hofshi’s family, one can only imagine the emptiness she must feel that is expressed in this piece.
In closing, this was a most valuable experience to break from work for a few hours to visit the George Billis Gallery and see these three works by Orit Hofshi. My only regret was that there were not more of her works to view. Her aggressive style and subject matter has a broad appeal to a great number of art lovers and especially to us who have a passion for printmaking. When I arrived back at my office later that afternoon I Googled the artist and found a great interview with the artist from the Philagrafika in Pennsylvania dated March 9th. ( For anyone interested in learning more about Orit Hofshi and her work the interview is a great opportunity to hear the artist’s own insight into her life and work.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Orit Hofshi prints at the George Billis Gallery

Orit Hofshi: Between the Lines at the George Billis Gallery

Wow, this exhibit was really great! I’m glad I went to see the images. The large sizes of artist Orit Hofshi’s prints are quite impressive. There were only three black and white prints on exhibit.

The young man working behind the counter at the George Billis Gallery said that Orit Hofshi thinks of herself as a dancer – possibly in another life. She seldom gets tired and is ambidextrous, so when one arm gets tired she uses the other.

The first print was titled Venue, 2002 and was full of wonderful flowing lines. The image is very powerful with lots of forceful movement. There are tree stumps and what appears to be flowing water among a wilderness area. It made me feel like I was high up on a mountain somewhere and witnessing this massive rush of flowing water. This print was the smallest of the three.

The second print was titled Flash, 2004 and was placed together with eight horizontal sections. What I found most interesting was the lone woman standing with her back exposed to what appears to be a severe wind or storm. The lines in her hair and clothes are flowing forward and indicate severe weather. I find it interesting that her fists are clenched – made me feel like the woman is angry. The top two sections had minimal markings; most of the line work was in the center. The bottom three sections had markings like scratches and comb strokes. It was a powerful image. It was very large and approximately 6’x 8’ in size. There’s a photo of me (Lucy Ruggirello) standing next to this print.
The last print was titled Serrate, 2000 and was placed together with four horizontal sections. This was also of a rugged wilderness scene. There appeared to be a lot of rugged terrain, lots of foliage and rocks. The ink was a black and brownish color for all three prints. This was approximately 6’x 4’ in size.

Roxanne may have taken a point or two off for some ink that was visible around the border areas.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

My recent intaglio, Beauty and the Beasts, a two-plate spit bite etching, is part of the current exhibition "4th Annual California Centered: Printmaking Exhibition" at the Merced County Arts Gallery in Merced, CA. The reception was April 8 and the show is up through June 1, 2010. If you're up that way, stop in and see it at 645 West Main Street.

Diane Mcleod

Liminal Print Exchange in Salt Lake City


I, graduate student Camilla Taylor, organized a print exchange at Kayo Gallery in Salt Lake City. This is the seventh in the series of print exchanges I've done in SLC, and this time many of the Long Beach and LA artists participated. Christian Salcedo Ward, Salvador Hernandez, Kesley Short, and Brian Borlaug are among some of the students from CSULB who made prints for the show.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Print any designs on fabrics

If anyone is interested in printing any custom designs on fabrics then head over to
The price is pretty reasonable at $18 - $32 per yard (Price depends on the type of fabric). Swatches are $5 each.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

"Chia Punk" meets "Lady Gaga"

These prints are inventive combos of monotype & linocuts. In both examples, the monotype hair or hat elements contrast quite nicely with the more graphic mark-making that the relief method allows.
I found myself thinking of the young Bob Dylan (or at least the film - "I'm Not Here") when viewing Nareg's Cool Cat
& because I'm of a - ahem - certain age, I referenced the late Moe Howard (or perhaps Shemp?) in his print titled: Dumb and Dumber.

Friday, April 2, 2010

"Tubular!" at the Pacific Design Center

"Tubular!" at Pacific Design Center

Current printmaking grads Camilla Taylor and Gretchen Jankowski have 3 dimensional printed artwork on display as part of the "Tubular!" show, curated by Doug Harvey, in the Pacific Design Center. The show is in suite B239 and closes May 7th, gallery hours are M-F 12-5pm.

"Tubular!" at Pacific Design Center