Fine art

Hand cranked

This year’s ‘Pressing On’ show further illuminates the printmaker’s art


Printmaking remains an interesting art form. On the one hand, it is a mechanical process by which everything from magazines and newspapers to posters and brochures are reproduced. And, yet, historically, it is a much broader and more diverse method of creating not only multiples of fine art images, but also one-of-a-kind creations.

“The ongoing issue regarding originality plagues printmaking which was, after all, developed in order to create inexpensive multiples,” a press release from the organizers of an annual Taos printmaking show states. That show is titled “Pressing On,” and it is slated to open with a reception Friday (Sept. 15), 5-7 p.m., at the Stables Gallery of the Taos Center for the Arts, 133 Paseo del Pueblo Norte.

“Contemporary printmaking has the same status as sculpture, painting, installation art, video art, etc.,” the release asserts. “Nevertheless, it is sometimes questioned where the art lies in each print of an edition pulled by master craftspeople, in a professional shop. Printmaking has always been a collaboration between artists and craftspeople; thus the ukiyo e prints of Japan and the wood block prints of China, as well as the etchings and lithographs of Picasso, Braque and Miró. And now the high tech, large, multi layered prints and huge editions created in the modern and contemporary studios that have blossomed across the United States and Europe in the 20th and 21st centuries.”

In effect, the exhibition asks, “Is it possible for individual artists in their self-funded studios or communal studios to compete? Is there any difference in the work? The editions are usually smaller; there are probably less plates involved to create an image. One difference, which may be of ultimate value, can be seen in the interest given to each, individually, hand-cranked print.”

The artists in “Pressing On” continue the dialogue as a collaboration of artists exploring the variations found in the art form’s contemporary applications.

Each spring, many Taos residents flock to enroll in a semester’s worth of “exceptional printmaking classes” at the University of New Mexico-Taos, the release continues. “Exceptional in the instruction led by talented, local artists; exceptional in their facility, offering top of the line printmaking presses, tools and materials; and exceptional in the creative community that is fostered there, bringing together a range of artists, disciplines and experiences that inspire and motivate the individual to make unique works in subject matter and in process.”

For the last six years, these individuals and other printmakers from Taos have been motivated to share what they’re learning and creating with the community and beyond.

This year, “Pressing On” is excited to announce its seventh exhibition showcasing the work of 21 Taos printmakers. The artists are Dwarka Bonner, Catherine V. de Brito, Jane Ellen Burke, Jan Dorris, Sara Jean Gray, Margaret Henn, Lawrence J. Herrera, Donna Kooyman, Jennifer Lindsley, Harley Manhart, Stephanie Moller, Betsy Peirce, Joy Purcell, Fatima Rigsby, Renny Russell, Abby Salsbury, Cydney Taylor, Genevieve de Vellis, Suzanne Wiggin, Barbara Zaring and Bonnie Zirkel.

The show will be on view daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Stables Gallery through Oct. 1.

In addition, the artists are planning a free community printmaking day on Sept. 23, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., during the opening weekend of the Taos Fall Arts Festival. Children and adults are welcome to learn about and experience the art of printmaking.

For more information, call (575) 776-8319.