Wednesday, August 16, 2017

miguel rivera - kcai printmaker

 "I was looking at this sense of expression. It fulfills me."    Miguel Rivera

This artist printed to INVENT SURFACES. 

Particles. The interface of materials on top of the next. What is below peeks through layers above. An inked impression from a routed woodcut with a specific design meshed with atmospheric elements. Karl Marxhausen

Rivera told me to look at Dr. Atl and David Alfaro Siqueros. I did. Each of these experimented with materials in order to invent the surface.

Look at the Mexican painter and writer Gerardo Murillo Cornado (1875-1964), who was known as Dr. Atl. He was the first to work with pigments. In the book of his 1914 Paris exhibit: Exposition Atl: les montagnes du Mexique, Atl introduced fellow artists to what he perfected in 1906, a solid material one could paint with. He named it Atlcolor. He had figured how to lay pigments on pigments. And how to keep them from falling apart. In his book The Landscape, an essay (El Paisaje, un ensayo), 1933, Atl described his solid resin-based pigments under the heading of  "Las inovaciones (The Innovations).     It was Atl's experimentation with wax, pigment, resin and gasoline that Rivera wanted me to find. 
[ and and and (accessed July, 18, 2017]

Here is an entry I found about Atl's stencil prints: take note of the use of resin varnish - the experimentation - inventing of the surface.

"The two remaining stencil prints, here called Red Volcano and Erupting Volcano, are untitled, lack stenciled friezes, and have other characteristics that suggest they were both made as experimental proofs around 1921-23 (Erupting Volcano is printed on the same type of laid paper as the Philadelphia album cover) and may in fact be rare examples of the type of enameled Atl-color prints-- estampes émaillées (procédé special)-- he exhibited in Paris in 1914. In both prints the artist animated the surfaces of the stenciled images with a fine mist of spattered Atl-color pigments, which he most likely blew onto them through the twin pipes of the metal fixative applicator commonly used to stabilize powdery pastel and charcoal drawings. In both cases he also made use of the resin varnishes that he described under the heading "Las inovaciones" (Innovations) in his 1933 book El Paisaje - un ensayo." (18. Dr. Atl, El paisaje--un ensayo, p. 13.) 

"In Red Volcano he stenciled his colors on top of a ground of transparent varnish that covers the entire sheet of paper. In the more complex Erupting Volcano, the artist built up the composition in layers, first painting onto a sheet of gray paper a ground of zinc white mixed with casein the same size as his intended image, followed by stenciled colors, then spattered colors, and ending with a coat of transparent varnish over the entire image except for the cone of the volcano rising above the clouds, which he embellished with Atl-color crayon that extends the composition of the spewing volcano into the margin of the sheet. Like many graphic artists in the West during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Atl incorporated in his designs many features typical of the traditional Japanese color woodblock print --stark outlines, flat expanses of color, and the playful visual conceit of allowing an element of a composition to intrude into the otherwise empty enframing margin--and made them distinctively his own.      John Ittmann, Mexico and Modern Printmaking: A Revolution in the Graphic Arts, 1920 to 1950 (2006). 

Look up David Alfaro Siqueros. He used pumice powder with resins, mixing, to build surfaces. He used it for murals as long as a wall. He was working like a construction worker.      Miguel Rivera

 Beginning in 1935, Siqueiros began using Duco, a nitrocellulose automobile lacquer developed by General Motors and DuPont in the 1920s. These tools and pigments countered what Siqueiros termed Mexico's "folk art for export," by which he referred to artists' proclivity to produce an art for tourists.(pg.77).. At the start of the 1930s, Siqueiros produced a series of crusty easel paintings made while under house arrest in Taxco, Mexico. In these works, he began experimenting with materials, as in the painting Proletarian Mother (1930) in which he combined local clays with resin, applying both to a fibrous jute surface (pg.81) …  the role of "accidents" --the spill, the stain was central to the experimental procedures of Siqueiros's workshop. While one handling of the spraygun could assure a quick-drying and slick surface unmatchable by oil paint applied by paintbrush, a more experimental approach to Duco led to unforeseen results.

As Siqueiros wrote in one letter to his friend and occasional benefactress Maria Asfinsulo
in 1936:
“I make use of a painting accident, through which two or more colours are sprayed on and as they become absorbed into each other produce the most fantastic and magical forms that can be imagined; it can only be compared to geological formations, to the multi-coloured and vari-shaped seams seen in mountains, to the cell-construction which can only be seen under a microscope. [...] a kind of tumultuous, stormy dynamism, a sort of physical and social revolution, which is quite frightening.” (pg.96)   
 ["IMPORT/EXPORT: RAW MATERIALS, HEMISPHERIC EXPERTISE AND THE MAKING OF LATIN AMERICA ART by Niko Vicario M.A. Curatorial Studies Bard College, 2008, accessed July 1, 2016]

This fascination for creating surfaces sounded more like what one did when painting. I shared with Rivera the delight I felt when I used crushed oyster shells, elmer's glue, and acrylic paint. The way the pigments separated and created spontaneous patterns which I enjoy. See next detail. More at  SEE 1 and  SEE 2.

As we sat chatting in Cafe Nerman Thursday afternoon, Rivera told me of the time he once baked a painting in an oven. It was while he was an exchange student at South Oregon University in Ashland. He had painted layers of gesso on masonite. He couldn't wait for it to dry, so he went next door into the ceramics room and set the masonite in a raku kiln that was still warm after a firing. He went on to say that he pressed objects into the wet gesso with his hands. When the masonite was completely dry he used oil paint on the hard surface, and then wiped it off in places with his hand. Just like an etcher wipes excess ink off the copper plate with the palm of his hand. Miguel Rivera said: "I was a pr-ainter. The cross between a printmaker and a painter." He had a smile in his eyes.

His most recent explorations on BFK paper employ drawing and layers like a painting but with the unfolding process of a print maker. One can dissect the components. There is a woodblock design. There is printers ink. There are tiny black particles. There is a manner of making. Miguel Rivera's way. But Rivera downplays the use of technology. Preferring the outcome. All methods were a means to an end. This is what he told me:
I had this concept of virus spreading through culture for a print. I designed the geometric of the virus. The woodblock plates were made with routers. But I did not want just the geometic. That would be boring by itself. I wanted to create “shadows of embossment.” As a resist for the next stage, I draw with toner powder. Using a magnet under the paper to move the toner around. I use a transparent base. This (work) is not process based. It is not a technical thing. It helps create this hidden metaphor.    Miguel Rivera


Three minutes. The first plate of his print was on cedar plywood. It had a vinyl stencil of a "retina" cut with a router. The second plate used in his print had the  of a bacteria virus scanned from Washington State University, a school  he attended. The second plate was tinted with toner powder instead of ink. That is, the toner particles sat in the grooves of the second plate and was run through the press. Together, the subtle layers of inked color, paper embossing, and particles of toner dust, created the qualities  that Rivera was after.

Two minutes. More interactions on paper that Rivera is fond of. Detail, above.

His wide triptych monoprint was pinned on the classroom wall with student help at the Kansas City Artist Institute. With many drawings and efforts leading up to this image, Rivera regards this image as mature.
I would call it a mono print. Because I'm using the matrix. The virus, in this case, conserves the matrix. I am using the matrix to do things it wasn't meant to do.   Rivera
Well, but you are, that's one way of framing it. You can say these are traditional materials, and I'm not using them the way you should. But on the other hand, you are using it for the purposes you as an artist come up with.   Marxhausen
It is like another drawing device. When you think of painting, it would be another layer of paint.  Rivera

Five minutes. Mono print.

Miguel Rivera was interviewed by Karl Marxhausen, Thursday March 3, 2016.
2 pm to 3:26 pm in Café Nerman  and on campus of the Kansas City Art Institute.

[Oyster shell surface treatment, courtesy of Karl Marxhausen, and accessed July 1, 2016]


Monday, August 14, 2017

suzann geringer - kc printmaker

Two minutes. This lobster collograph was done in New England 
for the collograph workshop she was taking.

We're in the studio with print society member Suzann Geringer. She shows us the surface of her collograph plate - her dry point and etching and her press. 

Five minutes. Geringer cannibalized her collographs, that is, she used portions of previously pulled collographs to make note cards. Always looking for new impulses and ready to make new images.

Zelda was a dry point done on plexiglass. The grey around the figure was tone on the plate when she pulled the impression. Next, the artist held up a an example to a plexiglas dry point plate.

Two minutes. A figure she drew from a vase she saw at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. Her dry point done on aluminum flashing. Above that, an etching she did at school, which has some chine colle elements on it. Next, a 24 x 36 impression that also uses chine colle,
and was produced by multiple passes through her small studio press.
Double click to enlarge images.

The tour of Suzann Geringer's studio took place June 11, 2017.

one pass - Blanche Lazzell

Two minutes. Suzann Geringer knows what a single pass through the press can achieve. As a print maker she has built up many images with multiple passes on her own press. She has done collograph, etchings, dry point on plastic, and chine colle.

For that reason she was very impressed at the SINGLE PASS impression Blanche Lazzell had achieved. In this clip, Geringer shows her surprise and Katelyn Crawford explains how the many parts of the Provincetown block were inked in many colors first and then run through the press in a single pass. One can observe that the grain of the many inked wood block portions go the same direction.  

The Lazzell color woodcut was part of "The 1930s In Prints" exhibition at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, in April of 2017.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

master printer - aaron shipps

In the afternoon Aaron Shipps, the master printer at Bedrock Art Editions, had Print Society members up to see his collaboration with the artist Andrzej Zielinski.

 Two minutes. Arrival to upstairs work studio.

Our day had started seeing the collaboration of Jasper Johns with master printers. That is, an artist unfamiliar with printmaking methods, sharing his ideas with one who is familiar, the master printer, and then the two of them figuring out how to best achieve the artist's idea in a given medium - like an etching, a lithograph, a monotype, a screenprint, a woodcut, and the like.

In this case, it was Aaron Shipps who was the master printer who worked with artists like Andrzej Zielinski and others in Kansas City.


Eight minutes. Master printer. Shipps showed us an earlier proof that served as a template for a unique project. From this both the printer and the artist decided on the final colors and subsequent foldings. More on that process http://www.bedrockarteditionscom/zielinski-ouroboros-shredder/ (courtesy of Bedrock Art Editions,, accessed July 15, 2017)

Metal sculpture of shredder was one way artist Andrezej Zielinski worked out his ideas. He worked in many mediums, painting, drawing, monotypes, and now lithographs.

Andrzej Zielinski gave a talk leading up to his most recent edition. A remarkable dilemma, solved by printing specific areas on both sides of the paper, having a template of precision cuts, and then carefully folding the whole sheet to form the final work. Amazing.

Twenty-four minutes. Shipps and Zielinski. 

Reception took place July 15, 2017.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Jasper John - Dick Belger Collection

Master printers teamed up with artist Jasper Johns to collaborate. Curator Mo Dickens shared stories with members of the Nelson Atkins Print Society about the Dick Belger collection. 

Two minute intro. Part 1

Eleven minutes. Part 2. Stories at Belger Arts Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Five minutes. Part 3. 

For more on Tatianna Grossman, Universal Limited Art Editions, click on ULAE (Universal Limited Art Editions),Tatianna Grossman and Master Print Bill Goldson

Tour took place July 15, 2017

Photos and videos by Society member Karl Marxhausen

Saturday, March 25, 2017

mike lyon - salina

Artist Mike Lyon explains the technical aspects of his process.  2015 visit Lyon's studio

Close up of a section of "Cambodia 2, 2012," pen and ink on pigment-tinted paper, by Mike Lyon. In this image it is easy to see the intricate paths made by the pen as it creates the image

The tour group. Mike Lyon is in the center and Executive Director, Bill North is standing next to him.

photos and text by John Mallery. member of the Nelson Adkins Print Society

Saturday, March 11, 2017

etching talk - doug osa

This must be the street. There are cars parked up and down the curb closest to the house where the etcher will speak.

New members who have recently joined and those I have met on previous occasions mill through the house.

The studio tour is down a short flight of steps, a few steps past the garage, a door to the right and voila, we gather to view Osa's recent etching,

It is these super fine lines - all of them. Why would it take one hundred hours to draw them? Simply - because they are not drawn on the metal plate. An wet acid bath eats grooves down into the copper plate. The final result comes from subsequent times in the acid bath. Doug Osa refers to the process as "controlled." Unlike the immediacy of drawing with a pencil on paper, the etched impression has stages of treatment before inking the plate and pulling a proof from the press.

(ABOVE) Spread out for comparison, six preliminary impressions display the corrections and types of line-work that were made as the whole image progressed. OMG!! Note the changes on the folds of the tablecloth.

Sunflower in a basket.

Two minutes.

Depth test.

Our host Doug Osa is talking about MEZZOTINT. The print maker wants the inked image to start out jet black. This is achieved after hand-rocking a metal tool across a copperplate for several hours. Thereafter the artist scrapes areas of the plate where he wants his design to be lightened. A burnishing tool with oil on the copperplate helps to polish an area, to make the inked print as white as the artist desires. He refers to modern day mezzotint artist Carol Wax, as her book on the subject is exchanging hands. Judith holds the book up for me to see.

small mezzotint plate in his hand.

Understanding the process is an eye opener.

Interview with Doug in 2014 HERE

Studio tour took place March 4th, 2017

Submitted by Karl Marxhausen