Now that Teton Art Lab (TAL) has taken up official residency as a Center for the Arts tenant, with representation on the Center’s website, newsletters, et cetera, TAL’s executive director Travis Walker is announcing some exciting shows.
Though Jackson’s 2010 September Fall Arts Festival is a ways off, TAL has sent word that its FAF highlight will be a show of woodblock prints of the works of famed artists Chuck Close, Richard Estes and Alex Katz. The show represents the first time these works will be seen in Wyoming. Each exhibition print is the work of New York City master print maker Karl Hecksher, who will also be teaching a class on traditional Japanese hand printing, Moku Hanga.
The exhibition runs September 10 – October 5, 2010. Mark your calendars.
Close’s work knocks Walker out.
“In 1998, I saw an exhibition of Close’s work at the MoMA in NY,” says Walker. “It floored me. I had seen photorealistic work before, such as Richard Estes (also in the exhibit), but what he was doing with these images seemed pretty genius, an Escher like blend of math, art, and science. Close makes big pieces with fingerprints, paper pulp, and overlapping circles of color, that become little abstractions up close, but are photorealistic from a distance. Those fingerprint pieces are especially awesome.”
Walker feels the accessibility of Close’s work appeals to the TAL mission, because its so readily educational. Walker himself says he’s not previously been exposed to Estes’ photorealism. “When I was a kid, a Jackson Pollock said nothing to me, but the photorealistic stuff was really amazing, technically. How did they do that?”
Walker says this is an unprecedented opportunity for Jackson residents to work with one of the world’s most noted print makers. And, he giddily notes, the exhibit is free.
Hecksher is a friend of TAL board member David Gottfried. Schwing! Hecksher, the founder, owner and director of K5 Editions LLC, has been printing in a variety of media since 1983. He spent the first three years after college as head printer at Prasada Press, collaborating with artists on stone and plate lithography. In 1986 he became a New York artist, printing editions at several major print studios.
Hecksher’s goal is to establish a more painterly approach to printmaking, one reflective of the individual artist’s touch; to make the print speak clearly and express the artist’s intentions. He’s been at it for two decades, honing his skills, and working with a full roster of noted artists.
A few years back, Walker took in a Portland, Oregon show of these prints and their matrixes.
” At the show there were these intricately carved wood blocks, stencils, paper screens, and etching plates that were just as beautiful as the prints themselves, side by side with the work to help viewers mentally grasp his process. It was truly mind blowing, from a printmakers perspective, to see the work involved in carving the blocks or etching the copper plates….At that time the Artlab was only a couple of months old, and we had only started to plan our printmaking studio. I knew if we ever did get a print program off of the ground, this work was something we should try and exhibit. So Dave made it happen with a few phone calls and a visit to Karl’s studio,” says Walker.
For his part, Hecksher is thrilled to be introducing his experience and method to Jackson artists. His hope is that students will develop their own personal approach to wood block printing.
(Photo, top Left: Chuck Close Self-Portrait Woodcut, 2009 Woodcut in 47 colors Image Size: 28 x 23 inches Paper Size: 35 1/2 x 28 1/2 inches Edition of 70 Printed by Karl Hecksher Published by Pace Editions, Inc.)