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Advancing Tradition: Twenty Years of Printmaking at Flatbed Press on View at Austin Museum of Art
Julie Speed (b. 1951), Ad Referendum from the series “Bible Studies Suite,” 2005, polymer direct gravure and hand-coloring, 22 7/8 x 18 1/8 inches, private collection. © Julie Speed and Flatbed Press, Austin, TX.
AUSTIN, TX.- The Austin Museum of Art celebrates the national significance and aesthetic richness of Austin’s premier fine art publisher Crown Point Press in San Francisco, and Universal Limited Art Editions in West Islip, New York.

Since the 1960s, contemporary prints have rivaled paintings in aesthetic quality, scale, and technical ambition. Many of the printmaking methods artists currently use date to the Renaissance or earlier. Digital technology and new materials, however, have prompted technical innovation and expanded creative options, bringing fresh vision to a venerable medium. Twenty Years of Printmaking at Flatbed Press, now on view through February 13, 2011, explores this interplay between tradition and innovation in printmaking.

This exhibition is comprised of two parts, purposefully integrated, juxtaposed to create a more vibrant experience of Flatbed’s contributions and the artists who have worked there. The main body of the exhibition is titled Advancing Tradition and consists of fifty original prints selected from those created at Flatbed Press. Many of the artists represented live and work in Austin; others came from various U.S. or foreign locations to collaborate with Flatbed’s master printers.

The second part, Collection Selections: Flatbed Press, focuses on works in other media by several of the Flatbed artists. These paintings and sculptures are drawn from the Museum’s collection, as well as from local individuals. Each work is installed next to that artist’s print so that one’s experience of it is enriched by how it compares and contrasts with its companion. Furthermore, the selection of Flatbed prints has been expanded for this Austin presentation to include a greater diversity of local artists.

Dana Friis-Hansen, AMOA Executive Director, explains the significance of this exhibition, “For over two decades, Flatbed Press has been an essential part of this artistic community, an incubator for new approaches to multiple processes. We are thrilled to be spotlighting the rich work done there, and the artists who have collaborated.”

The exhibition focuses on three key aspects of this dynamic, contemporary process: the uniqueness and diversity of printmaking, the combination of new technologies with traditional equipment and processes, and the crucial role of collaboration between artists and master printers. The artists featured are nationally and internationally renowned and include Terry Allen, Michael Ray Charles, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Melissa Miller, James Surls and Julie Speed, among others. A selection of tools and print matrices are exhibited alongside the prints in an effort to make the technical aspects of printmaking more accessible.



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