Wednesday, March 5, 2014

march - living with the spirits

      Calling upon one who answers. Here in the middle of the United States, in the state of Missouri, east of Kansas City, there was a winter advisory, with a possibility of freezing mist, sleet, and later heavy snowfall.
On Friday my computer forecast sleet would begin at 2 pm on Saturday and on through the afternoon, promising an dangerous drive home from the print society event, if we went. My wife and I live an hour and a half
from Kansas City.
It looked like we would have to pass. Before I went to bed Friday night, we asked Jesus Christ in prayer for a sign.
If God wanted us to go to this event, he would delay the sleet by several hours. The next morning when I checked the computer forecast, the sleet was DELAYED ---
---NOT ONE, NOT TWO,-- BUT THREE HOURS!!! We could travel in and return home before the sleet began. Jesus gave us an answer. He wanted us to go.

      How interesting it was then to hear Dr. Ling-en Lu talk about the exhibit, "Living With The Spirits." Deities from the late 19th century in China were inked woodblock impressions on paper.          (Double click on images to enlarge.)

The vibrant, electric inks were made of imported pigments from Europe.  

     Craftsmanship was downplayed. Yes, disciples were taught by masters to carve the woodblocks. Some people cut the blocks. Some people hand colored the hand pulled impressions.  And, yes, shops sold the prints. But their production was not about its "commercial value." These designs were ceremonial and spiritual. They empowered the gods to do their work. Certain prints were to be burned after the gods had answered the request. There were expectations towards and responses from a variety of gods.

Entities guarded the dwelling, fought and defeated demons, brought good fortune, and dwelt among human beings. 

The traditional Chinese home had its own worship center, with red banners, and a treasure urn. "The urn multiplied whatever you put in it. It was comparable to our horn of plenty," said Dr. Lu, "symbolizing abundance."
    While other woodcuts were created to entertain, these deity images were neither a joke or hoax or parody. Not comic or slapstick, but heartfelt and wise. Not tasteless and vulgar, but principled and expectant. 

"When I put together this exhibition. I went back to Taiwan, China -- and got many of these prints from my friends. Some are very elaborate. And some are simple," said Dr. Lu,  Curator of Early Chinese Art at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. Also featured in the exhibit were popular stories known as Chinese opera. "What first looks like a landscape is really a depiction of an historical event."

"The position of the figures and the martial art performers is something you will see quite often Chinese entertainment."
Double click on images to enlarge.
Pleasure boats were rented for self, with music or nice meal, on Sumida River. One of the biggest rivers in Tokyo today. Yayoi Shinoda, Assistant in Asian department at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, spoke on four woodblock impressions by Hosoda Eishi. Images feature Geisha figures.
Video runs 4 minutes.

A Party on the Pleasure Boat Sumida River

(courtesy of Art Daily News,,
Ling-en Lu, assistant curator of Chinese art and curator of the exhibition,

More Information:
accessed March 3, 2014) 

photos and text by Karl Marxhausen

Friday, February 21, 2014

ray esposito - innovator

Minimalism Series Three
Paper Size: 22" x 30" 
Image Plate: 10.5" x 18"
Paper Type: Rives BFK White

Innovator from Washington D.C., Ray Esposito is ready for the next phase of his life. He is a print maker, painter, and a photographer who came out of retirement, when he moved from Texas to Omaha, Nebraska. He has his sights on Print House Press, or something like that. He has birthed SEVEN other places to make prints. He sold all the presses he had in storage. Be that as it may, he is resourceful, and he recently joined the Nelson Atkins Print Society in Kansas City. He is looking for a place around the Omaha area, to set up camp, get local photos on display, generate some buzz and a following, and THEN start up his Print House Press. He envisions a place where artists can go and learn to make printmaking, and then develop a portfolio, complete with casing. He's done that before when he was living in Maryland. I interviewed him at last month's Love of Art luncheon. Video runs four minutes.      Karl Marxhausen

Mission 2
30" x 40"
Sand Based Acrylic Painting
(All links courtesy of Brass Ring,,
accessed March 6, 2014)
Esposito is a member of the Nelson Atkins Print Society. His Florida website is You can see his monoprints and paintings here. You can see the prints he has collected over the years. At you can read questions he had about print making when he first started out. He is a member of Lomography out of Brussels. You can find out more about this analogue photography community, click on

Monday, January 27, 2014

the crawl

It was an icy start, coming in on highway 210 east, where my wife and I passed a rolled off vehicle in a corn field, its owner standing beside it, talking on a cellphone, waiting for the wrecker to arrive.

The house gallery was full of print society members and non-members, sipping orange juice and nibbling baked goodies.

Each time I attend a PS function I seek out people I've met and meet new ones.

That day Mark Jeske told me about an art appreciation class he took and the color theory talk with Margie Kuhn he attended. He had read about both events and the print crawl in the bi-monthly brochure that Nelson museum sent out. That was what brought him to Kathy Ashen- brenner's house that morning.

Finally, we squeezed around the dining room table and listened as each print was presented. People glanced back and forth from the handout sheets, leaning forward to inspect the inked impression, and make mental notes for themselves.

Then, it was gathering coats and hats and heading of in carpools to the next location.
     Karl Marxhausen

Photos left,
taken by PS member Elizabeth Carroll.

Hi Karl. Thanks for asking.  We enjoyed visiting with Jan and you. Besides the art, we were
and continue to be delighted by the large turnout of PS members and their strong interest in supporting the Nelson.   Jane and Jack Coakley

Kathy Ashenbrenner of Gallery Karl Oskar presents selected prints by Robert Motherwell and Richard Diebenkorn. Three minutes.

Jack Olson of the American Legacy Gallery on Claire Leighton:
   "She actually became a citizen in 1945. But she is known for her book illustrations and for her rural America-type prints. Where we got involved with carrying her work was, she did a gift print for the Prairie Print Makers. The Prairie Print Makers, as you probably all know, is a group that started in Kansas in 1931. And every year, from 1931 to 1964, printed a gift print. If you were a patron of the Prairie Print Makers, and paid your $5.00 a year dues, you got a gift print. So, it was a pretty good deal for a long time."
   "This is a big wood engraving. This is the first time I've had . I suspect it has never been framed."
   "I'm going to do the ones I think are the coolest. (group laughter)"
    Double click on images to enlarge.

Olson went on to discuss the Jackson Lee Nesbitt, a student of Thomas Benton, and a rare etching by John Sloan.
Three minutes. See transcription excerpts above.
    "I love the idea of a print crawl to examine prints that Beth has hand selected for us, and talking with people who have special interest in the art of the print.  For example, Ruthie showed me the business card she designed for Doug.   I was especially glad to visit the new Haw Gallery and see how the Dolphin has successfully transitioned.  It was also a pleasure to review the Thomas Moran chromolithograph in Jack's office after learning about this print technique on our road trip to the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa."    Curtis V. Smith

     I enjoyed the annual Print Society print crawl once again.  It is always good to get together with fellow print enthusiasts, to socialize and look at art.  Once again, the first stop at Galerie Karl Oscar (Kathy Ashenbrenner's home) was warm and welcoming with good coffee and treats. I enjoyed meeting some new members, and catching up with others.  At our second stop, American Legacy Gallery, it was a treat to see the wonderful etchings that Jack Olsen showed us. Then on to Haw Gallery for more art treats, and also to see what Bill Haw had done with the old Dolphin Gallery space.     Susan Lawrence

Emily Eddins of the Haw Contemporary Gallery introduced us to belgium prints by Michael Krueger (pronounced kree-ger), a unique relief print by Laura Berman, and a set of lithographs by Peregrine Honig. Six minutes.

Our final stop was Lawrence Lithography Workshop, where our host, Mike Sims, explained the prints that he was offering for our consideration.  He is keeping his holiday sale going through the end of January, and several of us took advantage of the opportunity to purchase prints for our own collections.        
Susan Lawrence

Mike Sims of The Lawrence Lithography Workshop introduces a set of lithographs by Susan Davidoff. Five minutes.


We then adjourned for lunch at the Bull Dog pub (we had the back room to ourselves) where we engaged in lively conversation, marked our ballots, and enjoyed good bar food.  susan lawrence

Our goal is to buy prints with the intention that the public will be able to view them in a Print Study Room. Two minutes.

The Print room was located on the Mezzanine. It was a good size room and could house different exhibitions. It is really too bad that it has been discontinued.  Last Fall several members of the Print Society (including me) wrote to the director requesting a new Print room. So far nothing new has happened.   Jean Howard

Concern was raised: were frames included in the purchasing price?
No, they were not. Discussion before casting vote. Four minutes.

 I am looking forward to the next step in our print selection process, the Love of Art luncheon on February 15 when we will vote on the print that we will donate to the museum.    susan lawrence

photos by elizabeth carroll and karl marxhausen
comments from jack and jane coakley, curtis v. smith, karl marxhausen, susan lawrence and jean howard