Printmaking competition brings fresh art to campus

Janet Truner Print Museum Pushing Boundaries exhibit_01.jpg
Catherine Sullivan, the curator for the Janet Turner Print Museum, stands next to a printed pillow submitted to the Janet Turner National Print Competition.Photo credit: Frances Mansour

The Janet Turner Print Museum and the University Art Gallery have collaborated once again for a biennial national print competition, and this time they’re thinking outside the box.

“Pushing Boundaries – Expanding Horizons” is a nationwide print competition with an exhibit on campus that features artists from all over the United States. The overall winner is awarded a solo exhibit at the print museum.

More than 100 artists entered their artwork and only 43 were selected to be featured in the competition. Print museum curator Catherine Sullivan is one of the authorities who set up each exhibit in the competition’s two locations.

“We were looking for people who were using print making in a different way,” Sullivan said.

Prints are traditionally printed on items such as paper, wood or linoleum.

However, this exhibit features new canvases, including bedsheets, pillows and full books. One piece is a full-sized, sculpted paper dress printed with a butterfly design.

The juror chosen to select this year’s winners is Anne Collins Goodyear, co-director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. She will decide which artist will receive the solo exhibit, and award other prizes to the top artists, on Feb. 20.

“We’ve chosen the juror very carefully this year, someone who would communicate this idea of forward-thinking, interested in experimentation, emerging artists and exciting work,” said Jason Tannen, curator of the University Art Gallery.

The exhibit is not only using a multimedia platform for the printmaking idea — it uses the prints as just one part of the whole piece, instead of as a main attraction.

One display includes woven paper and other materials, which allows the print to add to the overall aesthetic without being a traditional printed work.

The pieces are set up in two locations to be viewed by audiences. Seeing both locations is required to appreciate the full exhibit.

The University Art Gallery is an open space with a high ceiling and big rooms to display sculptural work. It showcases one hanging sculpture of a cloud with falling raindrops and another with printed hand outlines reaching from the ground and ceiling.

The Janet Turner Print Museum is an enclosed space, perfect for the hands-on experiences like artfully printed books or multimedia pieces viewed on computers.

“Overall, I hope that this exhibit will blow people’s preconceptions of what printmaking is,” said Tannen.

The Janet Turner Print Museum is located across from the library entrance and is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The University Art Gallery is located on the first floor of Trinity Hall and is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This exhibit will be on display until Feb. 22.

Veronica Hodur can be reached at [email protected] or @VeronicaHodur on Twitter.