Sunday, July 21, 2013

Local Art Seen: Northern Prints Gallery

Revolution by Amy Sands
A couple years back I became aware of the Northern Prints Gallery and made an attempt visit on an evening when our family went to dine at Burrito Union across the street. The gallery was closed and for some reason it receded from my mind. Earlier this month, however, the little gallery on Duluth's East Hillside was brought to mind by the printmakers exhibition at the North Shore Bank of Commerce downtown.Cecilia Lieder, gallery director of the Northern Prints Gallery went out of her way to introduce to this impressive body of work.

The show at the bank will only be displayed through August 2, but if you miss it you can see some great artwork by printmakers any week of the year if you head over to the gallery. It's easy to find, just up the hill from the local Farmers Market and across from the Burrito Union.

The current show at Northern Prints is called Expanding Horizons: The UnMiniature Show. Like the work I saw at the bank, it's a collection of art in a variety of styles and print media.

If you are unfamiliar with the processes artists use to create original prints, the gallery has a nice little handout produced by the Northern Printmakers Alliance to assist you in understanding the various methods as well as the way materials are selected.

The green layer of a Leider woodcut.
What's immediately apparent when I review the information here is that printmaking is a profession and a fine art. The Print Council of America has gone to great lengths to legitimize print making as art. You can tell that a lot of thought and discussion has gone into formalizing the criteria for what qualifies as a certified edition of original prints. The informative brochure also outlines why printmakers choose the materials they use, why acid-free paper with high rag content is usually selected (to preserve its value) and the differences between relief printing, intaglio, lithography, screen printing and monopriints.

Many of the artists in this current exhibition will be familiar to followers of the local arts scene -- David Moreira, Tom Rauschenfels -- but there are others who have contributed to this exhibit with contributions from other parts of the country, all of it wonderful. The 53 pieces in this Expanding Horizons show fill most of the rooms on the first floor but also follow the staircase up to the first landing. One room, adjacent to the gallery space in this vintage 1891 home, is Cecilia Leider's studio and where she also stores her ornate woodcuts.

The net effect of this visit was to make me want to see more.

Gallery hours are from 1-6 p.m. Friday thru Sunday and by special appointment. If you've never been, I encourage you here to check it out. It's a nice little morsel of enchantment and wonderfulness.

The finished piece, printed.

No comments: