Monday, July 8, 2013

Local Art Seen: North Shore Bank Printmakers Exhibition

It's always a pleasant surprise to find new art being displayed in what might otherwise be an ordinary space. Last week I found myself at the North Shore Bank to check out an exhibition of works by the Northern Printmakers Alliance. My host and "tour guide" was Cecilia Lieder of the Northern Prints Gallery.

The show, which will be open during regular bank hours till August 2, was curated by John Steffl, a respected artist in his own right. What treasures there are on the walls of this bank. The common denominator in this group is printmaking, but the mediums vary significantly as does the subject matter. Lithography, monotype, woodcut, linocut, serigraphy, letterpress, relief print, and screen printing all have examples of the possibilities of their respective methods.

Jeffrey Kalstrom's Red Rover, Red Rover
Lieder, who is herself a printmaker, found herself enthralled by printmaking in her very first art class at sixteen. She herself loves lithography and relief cuts. As for litho, she calls stone "the most beautiful draing surface in the world." When I ask why she says, "It's so hard that it gives a greater range of values. It seems like it (stone) would be cold, but it's warm."

Something we both agreed on is that though printmaking is itself messy, it does things no other medium can do. I asked her what it is that drew her in to printmaking. "The differed image," she replied. "What you work on is not what shows up."

I can see that. Her woodcuts are large and detailed and I ask how the effect is achieved. "I use plywood. It's difficult to carve, but it doesn't warp."

Lieder started her Northern Prints Gallery because she wanted a space for printmaking arts, which often seems underrepresented. It's not the same as painting and is on the borderline between art and craft. But when you see a show like this you realize what a talented collection of artists and artisans have been gathered here. I strongly encourage you if downtown this month you'll really want to take it in. It's a feast.

Cecilia Lieder in front of several woodcuts of her own.
There are 80 pieces and more than 30 artists represented.
Woodcuts by Tom Rauschenfels. Like the rest of the show... Impressive!
The Northern Prints Gallery is located across the street from Burrito Union on 14th Avenue East. The hours are 1-6 p.m., Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Enjoy!

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