EUGENE, ORE.- The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
at the University of Oregon presents two bodies of work by British artist John Piper (1903-92), one of many prominent artists who used the silkscreen printing process made popular by the Pop Art movement. John Piper: Eye and Camera & Travel Notes is on view in the MacKinnon Gallery of European Art through October 12.
In his early career, Piper experimented with abstraction before settling on representational art as his subject matter. Not only is he well known for producing some of Britains most loved paintings, prints, and photographs of the 20th century, Piper also designed fabrics, stained glass windows, and stage sets for theatrical productions, as well as written poetry and non-fiction, including illustrated texts of his travels throughout the English countryside. Two of the prints on view are from Pipers Travel Notes series.
The works on display are collaboration between Piper and master printmaker Chris Prater of Kelpra Studio in London. Prater revolutionized the medium of silkscreen printing from a commercial enterprise to an expression of modernitylegitimizing its role as a medium of fine art. The flatness and anonymity of the surface appealed to many British artists at the time whom were embracing the sensibilities of Pop Art. Although Piper often employed various forms of printmaking, he far preferred screenprinting, which involves running an inked squeegee over the stenciled area of a stretched fabric screen, transferring pigment onto the desired areas to form the image.
This method was especially useful to him when combining photographic and drawn material. He utilized this technique in the Eye and Camera series, for which is his wife, Myfanwy Evans Piper, posed. Often Piper combined multimedia to create a collage effect as well as multiple tonal layers that increased the interest in each of his images.
The works on view in John Piper: Eye and Camera & Travel Notes were donated to the museum in 1979 by Dr. Lewis Burrows.