UNF Gallery of Art

University of North Florida

Jacksonville, FL

January 25April 5, 2021

There is a freshness and contemporary pulse to Printmaking that is taking the art world by surprise. This medium has for centuries been associated with the making of flat, editioned images—mostly on paper—using specific equipment and printing elements, also known as “matrixes.” Printmaking is more than that; it is, in its essence, as visual artist Päivikki Kallio (2015) describes, a collective process in which each part shares equal importance: the inks, the matrixes, the paper, the equipment, and the print. The final proof and the editioned prints are—as all other elements—an equal part of this collective. It is utterly democratic, as it has the potential to create numerous original prints that can be widely distributed. However, with the development of the digital cosmos, the potential for editioning and multiplication has become meaningless and at times nostalgic; nowadays, everything can be transmitted and shared on multiple platforms, numerous times.

The twenty contemporary printmakers in this exhibition are less concerned with printing editions and more interested in multiple originalities. They have removed the artificial boundaries around printmaking to really understand the process and have contextualized printmaking also as a participatory, rather than only a democratic process. Here is a technique that is so porous, it can act like a sculpture and inhabit three dimensions; it can mimic a painted mural as it sprawls across a wall. What’s more, its materiality is astounding.

The prints in this exhibition are on porcelain, recycled wood, and melting ice; they live in the toxic residue left by the contaminated water of Flint, Michigan, and are even inked onto good old-fashioned paper—only sideways, on the paper’s less-than-millimeter thick, bleeding edge. They hang frameless, flexible, folded, and are built like a puzzle or planted as a garden. They are ethereal, unearthly, or oxidized—created by the oxygen both you and I breathe. Some are architectural; others are biological. Some occupy the physical space, others a limited state or temporal transition. Every work in this exhibition was originated from one or more printing elements, either physical matrixes or digital vectors.

Prints were all somehow manipulated—cut, folded, burnt, fired, mounted, recorded, or pasted. All these actions reveal the innate familiarity printmakers have with matters of time, space, gravity, and pressure.

Diversity is the watchword here, yet all these artworks do have one thing in common: they form an open-ended mode or a network of nomadic relationships among all elements in the collective printmaking process. Each piece is a unique art object, less concerned with Printmaking’s legacy as “edition” than it is inspired by its amazing ability to be both “original” and multiple at once. We live in a fast-paced society, and in trying times. Prints can help us embrace the unique essence that dwells amidst diversity, the Unity that comes from embracing a world seen from countless points of view.

Sheila Goloborotko, 2018

In January 2021, one portion of the exhibition Multiple Ones: Contemporary Perspectives in Printmedia, previously showcased at the lobby of the Museum of Contemporary Art moved to the UNF Gallery of Art.