One-Off Printmakers’ show at Cudahy’s offers a wide variety of techniques and ideas

In Ink

“In Ink: One-Off Printmakers”
Cudahy’s Gallery
Through Sept. 7, 1999 Cudahy’s current exhibition, “In Ink,” offers something for everyone, providing both diversity and balance in the wide variety of work. The exhibition’s 13 participating artists belong to the Richmond-based One-Off printmakers, a group that has sustained a core membership since 1983. There are opportunities to compare and contrast ideas or approaches in this show. There is Ed Steinberg, whose misty, nostalgic screenprints of home and kin possess the vintage feel of art that once nestled next to the macramé suspended asparagus fern, assuring with a warm hand that it is possible to go home again. And then there are Don Early’s searingly mortal figure studies depicting age and loss that assure us that it isn’t possible. In both, the subject of time is addressed. David Freed’s quietly woodgrain-patterned landscapes whisper of a haunting presence in the atmosphere and tell the story of the past life of the land — proposing that nothing that dies departs. In a similar vein is Joan Gaustad’s dynamic portrayal of new life leaping out of the void. Tattooing her infants with spiraling eddies of predetermination and causality, she describes ancient beliefs about genesis and regeneration. The subject of continuity is analyzed. Mitzi Humphrey’s monotypes and Janet Gilmore’s screenprints are charged with colorful abstract markings while Ann Chenoweth etches lush, superabundant scenes of tropical foliage into pattern. Excess and fecundity are suggested in these works. Kris Iden and Tucker Hill offer silence, hesitation and calm; Iden in the abstract and Hill more pictorially in the sleepy haze of “Route 645.” Another memorable inclusion in the show is Steve Fishman’s vacated psychological landscape of act and deed, “Howlings of Deep Memory.” The vast pristine plane of white paper that Fishman leaves makes me want to resort to Latin to describe this intaglio mezzoprint with references to tabula rasa (the blank page awaiting the message) and horror vacua (fear of the vacuum). The latter of the two being something that Fishman is comfortable with although he is likely banking on the fact that the viewer will not be. The effect is successful. Mary Holland’s droll watercolored monoprints of men and women, working out their differences with a vague and nagging distaste for one another’s limits, are represented here in yet a new dilemma. Best of all is a wonderful self-portrait of Holland, presumably looking in the mirror (or at the viewer) with a similar expression of mild distress and dismay. Delightful portraiture also occurs in Dawn Latane’s flirtatious oil monotype “Spanish Dancers” in which two ladies, ruffled in strong outline from profile to finery, fandango across the page. The dancers supply a playful antithesis to Phillip Wetton’s elegant geometric studies hanging next to them. Also using the impact of outline, but to contain and border rather than to undulate, Wetton adds rich jewel-like acrylic color to a stained glass effect. These works hang behind Cudahy’s reception desk, so it’s hard to see them well and harder to understand them as prints. Except for a tiny bit of bleed on the edge and the artist’s word on it, they look to be painting, or perhaps collage, primarily. The mystery of it gives some enjoyment though, and their texture adds to what is already a well-rounded group


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