Thursday, May 20, 2010

Editions 10' Catalogue Launch and Exhibition

I know, I know, I know.... it has been a long time since we last blogged, but in our defense it is because there has been so much going on in the studio! The Printshop has been action packed the past couple of months and we have exciting things to show as a result!

Cammi Climaco working in the Collaborations Studio

Steve Lambert working on his print Out of Ideas

William Powhida working in the Collaborations Studio on a new suite of prints

We just finished hanging our newest exhibition, Editions 10',  where we are showing new projects by Special Editions Artists-in-Residence Karlos Carcamo, Cammi Climaco and Steve Lambert, alongside new work by Publishing Artists-in-Residence William Powhida and Enoc Perez. A lot of these pieces were printed, fabricated, and editioned in the past couple of months, so we have been busy flocking, silkscreening, collaging and even getting to hand paint butterflies. Hopefully this is reason enough for you to excuse our small "blogger" break. We promise to keep you updated on a regular basis of all things Printshop related from now on!

For instance come by the Printshop next Wednesday May 26, from 6 to 8 pm for our catalogue launch and exhibition reception!

And stay tuned for sneak peeks into our collaboration with new Publishing Artist-in-Residence Arturo Herrera, and more information on our current Special Editions artists!

Image on right: Cammi Climaco. This Time, 2010. Screenprint and hand additions on lasercut paper and silk, 19.75" x 15.25" image and sheet. Edition of 8. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

(Nearly) Everything You Wanted to Know About Photogravure...

Zana Briski. Sex Workers of Calcutta VI, 2001.  From a suite of 7 photogravure prints. Printed and published by the Lower East Side Printshop.

I'll be honest--photogravure is a challenging, time consuming, multi-step technique prone to many unique challenges. Factors such as humidity can make or break the success of coming out the other end of the process with a satisfactory plate, and the chances of one of many steps going slightly awry can result in less than stellar results for even the experienced.

So why bother? Because when it works (and despite everything, it can work) there's nothing that can match it. There is a reason photogravure has persisted beyond it's early beginnings in the development of modern photography.

Alvin Langdon Coburn (British, 1882-1966). St. Paul's from Ludgate Circus, 1907

Paul Strand, Camera Work XLIX/L, 1917

 There is an almost indescribable quality to the richness and tonal subtleties of photographic images printed using the photogravure technique. One gets a palpable sense of magic that early innovators of photography must have felt to see how an image can slowly emerge--a feeling of wonder that we are immune to nowadays with the immediacy of the instant digital photo.


What accounts for the high level of image quality is that photogravure is the only photoetching process that is truly continous tone. Above are 2 images of a photograph of Auguste Rodin taken in 1908 by Alvin Langdon Coburn. Left is the original continuous tone where values transition smoothly into one another--a multitude of whites, darks, and grays that can capture the smallest details and nuances of light. At right is the same image, this time in halftone. 

Halftone is the most common way mass produced photographs are commercially printed, from newspapers with a coarse, highly visible dot, to magazines and books with their much finer halftone pattern. Put simply, with halftone the entire image is rendered into many small black dots. Grays are created based on how many and how closely these dots are clustered, and relies on the ability of the human eye to "blend" these dots into a simulation of tone. Mechanically this makes the image much easier to mass produce. While superfine halftones can come close to the image quality found in continuous tone, it eliminates the nearly infinite range of values found in techniques like photogravure. 
Kara Walker. Testimony, 2005. Suite of 5 photogravure prints. Printed and published by the Lower East Side Printshop.

The added benefit is that photogravure is an intaglio process, where the image is etched into a copper plate and printed on an etching press. As a result, once you make a plate you have a multitude of options for how and what to print on. Fine art papers, handmade asian papers, and sepia or color tinted inks can greatly enhance the resulting prints and intensify the already velvety tones in the image.

The examples shown here are a pale simulacrum of the look and feel of photogravures seen in real life--they truly have to be seen in person to understand why this medium continues to attract artists and photographers to this day, despite the many and more immediately gratifying methods of creating and reproducing photographic imagery. The effect that the process can have on images is roughly akin to the level of intensity, detail, and focus that can be seen in daguerreotypes, but printed on paper. 

Lothar Osterburg. Flat Earth, 2006

How does all of this magic happen? Learn next month at the Printshop from Lothar Osterburg, an artist, teacher, and master printer who has extensive experience in the medium and has led photogravure workshops around the country. The 4 day intensive takes place over two weekends (April 17-18 and 24-25) at the Printshop's shared artists' studio and is suitable for everyone from beginners to experienced printmakers and photographers.

The first day of the class will cover creating film positives, photo-sensitizing gelatin, and preparing copper plates, and on the second day gelatin will be exposed, adhered, and developed. The second weekend will consist of etching and printing. 

Sign up for classes HERE

Additional information on the history of the process and and all around great resource is Also, check out Lothar Osterburg's site at

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Special Editions Resident: Blane De St Croix

Blane De St. Croix is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Brooklyn, NY. He received his BFA from Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA, and his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI. De St. Croix's work has centered around environmental concerns, often represented in site specific installations that address the rigid boundaries of human encroachment on the natural world. These large-scale installations utilize architectural space in a powerful and imposing manner and are based on extensive research of actual sites.

The piece pictured above is titled Mountain Strip. Created for his residency at the Black and White Project Space in Brooklyn, NY, Mountain Strip is literally a mountain built upside down, a painstakingly reconstructed topography of a section of the Kayford Mountain Ridge top in West Virginia. De St Croix's massive sculpture cut through the exterior exhibition space and spilled into the interior gallery. Referencing the strip mining process of mountain top removal Mountain Strip addresses the social and political implications of mining.
De St Croix also uses drawing as an integral part of his research practice. Working from satellite imagery, google earth, topographical mapping and even interviews he collects information to better understand the layered implications of specific areas before beginning a rendering.

As he begins his residency here at the Printshop De St. Croix will continue his ongoing investigation into the geopolitical landscape. I think he has a new site he wishes to investigate. When he came by to see the studio and meet everyone face to face, he seemed excited about how the notion of the multiple would factor into his working progress. I think that one of the most exciting parts of the Special Editions residency is seeing what it is about printmaking that pulls artists in. For some its the impression the plate makes in the paper, a relationship with the actual printing press, while for others its the notion of the edition and the idea of creating a sequence of images. In terms of the these artists we will just have to wait and see.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Call For Artists: Keyholder Residency

Before I delve back into introducing our new Special Editions Artists in Residence, I wanted to take a minute and talk about our upcoming residency deadline. I know exactly what you are thinking, more mail for me! Applications are due March 1, 2010. This is a postmark deadline or drop off deadline depending on one's approach. 

The Keyholder Residency Program offers emerging artists free 24-hour access to our shared printmaking facilities, giving them a year of free studio space and access as a way to foster the production of new work. Keyholders work independently and are encouraged to experiment with a variety of different printmaking mediums. Artists from all disciplines are eligible to apply, as print-making skills are not required and basic instruction in printmaking techniques is part of the program. 

All of the information on how to apply is available on our website so I won't post it here, but what I will do is show a few images of past Keyholder work. A picture is worth a thousand words. 

Darina Karpov. Untitled. 2008. Etching, drypoint, aquatint.

Adam Frezza. Juke-Boy Hat. 2008. Solar plate etching.
Sophie Larrimore. Untitled. 2008. Screenprint and collage.

Please pass on information about the residency to anyone you think might be interested, its free to apply and an amazing opportunity. Or if you are feeling especially "residency friendly" buy a ticket to our upcoming Benefit on February 24, 2010 and contribute directly to emerging artists!


Thursday, February 4, 2010

New Special Editions Artists In Residence

We officially have 4 new Special Editions Artists in Residence. I cannot tell you how excited I am. My excitement partly has to do with the fact that during the month before the deadline the mailman is my best friend. Every day he brings me stacks of applications, which I then open, sort, collate and upload. The week before the deadline our mailman is basically Santa Claus, with a giant sack of mail as my presents. This means that by the time the panel comes to the Printshop  I know most of the applicants names and have seen their work several times. This particular deadline brought in almost 600 applications from all over the country and I am proud to say that I processed each and every one. The picture below is not me, but I love the image.

That being said being so involved in the process makes the outcome even more fascinating and I can't wait to see what our new artists Saul Chernick, Blane De St. Croix, Chitra Ganesh, and Marie Jager will create. As we set about creating this blog, we talked a lot about its ability to be a forum for discussion, and a place where we could share our thoughts on everything from printmaking to contemporary art and collaboration. In this spirit I am going to introduce each of the Special Editions artists one by one. I think it will be a nice way to highlight their previous accomplishments and showcase their work. It will also be a nice record to look back on at the end of their residency, to see where they were before they began their collaboration with Doug and Jamie.

I am going to start with Saul Chernick. 1) because alphabetically this makes sense and 2) because he was the first one to come into the Printshop. He dropped by this afternoon to see the studio, meet everyone, and talk about what the residency entails.

Saul Chernick is based in Brooklyn, NY and works in primarily in drawing and sculpture. He received his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, RI, and his MFA from the Mason Gross School of Arts at Rutgers University, NJ. His elaborate drawings display an exquisite use of line and are executed so that they mimic old engravings. Tied to the past through technique or reference, Chernick's drawings traverse this link, reinventing our perception of otherwordly beings, alternate realities, and supernatural phenomena.

As a draftsman you can see how each individual mark works together to create his imagery. There is also a clear fascination with the phastasmagoric and the metaphysical. It will be great to see how this continues when he delves into printmaking.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sneak Preview........Printshop Benefit 2010

We just got the last batch of works for the Benefit back from the framer and they look amazing! The invites came yesterday and the office is a whirlwind of color and activity. I just wanted to share a quick sneak peek of what we have to look forward to at the gala. Below are two pieces to keep an eye on, in my humble opinion.

Emilio Perez. No Bones, 200. Color pencil and watercolor on paper. 

Joe Fig. Pollock (Jackson Pollock 1950) #2, 2002. C-print. 

You can also catch a glimpse of Emilio Perez's new paintings when his solo exhibition at Galerie Lelong opens on February 11, 2010. And if you are out and about grab a copy of Joe Fig's new book Inside the Painter's Studio which was just published by Princeton Architectural Press. 


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Looking Back

In the spirit of the new year I thought it might be nice to look back on some of the great prints that were on view in New York in 2009. Ranging from the confessional to the political the world of modern and contemporary printmaking certainly made an impression. Artists and print shops created new awe inspiring work, while museum and galleries took the time to show us that a blast from the past can also be a breath of fresh air. Here are four inspiring presentations from 2009 - artists to keep in the back of your mind as we move forward into the new year.
Sister Corita Kent
Zach Feuer Gallery
October 23 – December 5, 2009 

Sister Corita incorporated fragments of slogans, advertising jingles, pop songs, newspapers and
magazines into her work, mixing images of the Vietnam War with the color and expression of iconic images like the Wonder Bread logo. An activist and artist, Sister Corita's work illustrates printmaking's inherent relationship to social expression and change.

Tracey Emin, Only God Knows I'm Good 
Lehmann Maupin
November 5- December 19, 2009

Tracey Emin's monoprints betray her hastily scrawled thoughts and their abundance echoes the labor of love and generosity that goes into her work. Mining her own life and experiences for the content of her work, Emin's prints betray a softer, subtler side of the artist. Filled with imagery of nudity and copulation, the prints do not shock, but rather evoke the artist's willingness to let her failure out in the world alongside her success.

Paper: Pressed, Stained, Slashed, Folded
March 11 - June 22, 2009

Focusing on artwork made in the 1960's and 70's this exhibition emphasized an interest in utilizing everyday materials in combination with non traditional processes. Dieter Roth's print (pictured above), illustrates the experimental nature of the printmaking process, combining pressed sausage and collage to create a dynamic layered composition. Using paper as both a material and a medium artists within this exhibition highlight drawing and printmaking's ability to mutate and adapt within different artist's hands. Robert Rauschenberg's print below is another amazing example.

Roni Horn aka Roni Horn
November 6 - January 24, 2009

Roni Horn's practice encompasses a wide variety of processes and materials. Horn uses material with remarkable sensitivity, changing her medium and process to create a specific and unique relationship between her subject and its eventual object. Her prints utilize drawing, photography and text, playing with and on our relationship to landscape.