Printmakers make art for the masses — at least that’s how it seems. The medium looks more approachable than the dark arts of oil paints and conceptual art, although, it, too, can take eons of study to master.
Austin is increasingly becoming known as a respected nexus for printmaking, and the month-long Print Austin features the full range, from highly conceptual fine art prints that make leaps into sculpture, to gnarly, eye-popping gig posters for Red River clubs.
The events for Print Austin are sprinkled throughout the city at galleries, museums and oddball spots, from parties with live printing at Leona Gallery to full-fledged exhibits at Carver and Cepeda library branches and even one show at a doctor’s office. This is Print Austin’s fourth year.
“We started with 20 events and now it’s grown to 40 throughout Austin,” says Elvia Perrin, one of the organizers, as well as a noted printer. The event draws print makers, vendors and art school departments from all over the country.
This being art made in Texas, there are a few oddball events. The one sure to raise eyebrows among these is undoubtedly prints made with a steamroller.
Perrin seemed relieved to not be in charge of this event, in which Jesus De La Rosa, associate professor of art at Texas A&M in Kingsville, will be running over pre-carved woodblocks, yes, with a steamroller (there are 25 spots for artists with $35 registration each; sign up at the Print Austin website).
Here are some highlights from Print Austin 2017, which runs Jan. 15-Feb. 15 and includes a variety of affordable classes:
Interdisciplinary artist Paloma Mayorga has curated a show from contemporary print artists of color, to show at a doctor’s office. Dr. Robert E. Cantu has a little space outside of his office, Perrin says, where the prints will be displayed. He catered last year, she says. “It felt a little like a fun house,” including a band crammed in the corner. (Opening reception, hosted by Dr. Cantu, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 21. Exhibit open during office hours through Feb. 18. 2911 Medical Arts Street, Bldg. 13).
Print Expo / Bin Fest / Steamroller Printing
The sprawling rabbit warren of complexes makes a stop here a no-brainer. A show by Kevin McNamee-Tweed is next door at the Museum of Human Achievement, while you can also peruse prints for sale by 30 artists, check out the Art Science gallery, Modern Rocks, artist studios and offerings from printing presses from across the country (Noon to 5 p.m. Feb. 11, RSVP through the event website for location.)
This art shimmers and buzzes. “It makes you rethink print,” says Perrin. Orna Feinstein prints on plexiglass, and turns print into sculpture.
(Reception 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 13 at Camiba Art Gallery, 2832 E Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. #111. Exhibit continues through Feb. 11.)
The Contemporary Print
Susan Tallman juried the print competition, which narrowed down 900 entries to 34. “She’s pretty big in our world. She’s the chief editor for ‘Art and Print’ magazine, a well-read art historian, and she juried the show,” Perrin says. “So she chose from artists who hang from all over the country.” (Reception 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 20 at O2 Space at Flatbed Press Headquarters, 2832 East Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Exhibit through Feb. 18.)
Art Werger: Tidal Shift
Dreamy, photorealistic prints of both the mundane and the mundane with a hint of mystery, in stunning detail. (Reception 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Jan. 20 at Slugfest Workshop and Gallery. Runs through Feb. 18.)
The Art of the Print
Tucked away in a project room, for one night only, prints pulled from the Blanton Museum of Art’s extensive holdings will be on display for the public. “They actually opened up their private collection,” says Perrin. “You can get close with the magnifying glass — there’s a crazy amount of monitors who are watching you, but it’s pretty great. … You can go up to a (Francisco) Goya, and just see what an actual piece of paper, inked, looks like, instead of just a slide. So it’s a pretty rare opportunity to do that.” (5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 19, Julia Matthews Wilkinson Center for Prints and Drawings in the Blanton Museum of Art, 200 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.)
The celebration of works on paper includes dozens of artists and venues and runs Jan. 15-Feb. 15. See the full list of participating artists, venues and events at printaustin.org.