Printed Matter at Offroad Productions
A19th-century etching by Adolphe Martial Potémont in the collection of Robert Bell depicts a multitude of Parisians lining up to purchase prints. It was made during a revival of the medium that enabled the middle class to purchase works of fine art at affordable prices. Some things haven’t changed. “When you get into printing it becomes a whole democratic, or mass audience process where you can make 100 prints in an afternoon, and you can get something interesting out to 100 different people. Whereas you might work on one painting for a month, and it’s just one painting for one audience,” local artist Tim Jag told Pasatiempo. “Printmaking democratizes how you can disperse art.” Jag, a painter as well as a performance artist and printer, curated Printed
Matter at Offroad Productions. The show, which opens on Saturday, Jan. 16, is a survey of regional printmakers and presses, but with a twist. “The work that’s on display is really more about street and handcrafted things and not about serious fine-art etching or lithography.” Jag is a co-founder of Baca Art Projects, an artist collective that maintains a mono press and four-way screen press. Prints produced at Baca Art Projects will also be on exhibit.
Printed Matter was developed with the recognition that several commercial presses and individual artists in the region were eschewing the digital print to focus on contemporary themes and using traditional and hands-on processes such as letterhead printing and silk-screening. Printed Matter is pro handmade art. The decision not to include digital media was a deliberate one. “The digital world is a shadow world,” Jag said. “You can’t grab it. You can’t hold it in your hand. There’s nothing there.”
The show can be broken down into three sections: artists who do commercial work for clients and how their own self-expression plays into that; artists for whom printing is an aspect of their work but combine it with other mediums such as painting or drawing; and people for whom printmaking is a primary means of self-expression. “The premise is to highlight a lot of different printing I saw in the area and put them together under one roof,” Jag said. “I’m hoping the actual presses and artists network and generate some energy from each other.”
Some of the presses featured include Taosbased printer Sarah Hart’s Hart Print Shop, master printer Brent Bond’s Santo Press in Scottsdale, and Melody Sumner Carnahan and Michael Sumner’s Burning Books based in Santa Fe. “Burning Books has a whole history of working with famous people and doing their own kind of subversive and eclectic kind of media stuff they put out in the world,”
Top left, Kyle Durri, Power and Light Press: ME-OW, letterpress printed greeting card; bottom left, Christa Dalien: Keep Warm Card, 2015, silkscreen; bottom right, Thais Mather: Maria Alyokhina, 2015, woodblock print; opposite page, Melody Sumner Carnahan and Michael Sumner, Burning Books: 7-Sins Soup, 2006