Screen printer focus of new show at CVAG

This show examines the vast world of screen printing and the integration and application of this art form into everyday life

In our digital age, where computers and ink jet or lasers printers can create thousands of “prints” of an artwork, the understanding of printmaking techniques is often incomplete.

Mechanically printed images, most notably inkjet or giclée prints on paper or canvas are correctly termed reproductions but are commonly called “prints.”

Did you know that the term “print” used for this computerized replication of an image originally comes from the world of visual art printmaking, which in itself is a variety of complex techniques?

The word print refers to an image that has been impressed onto a surface, usually paper, by a process capable of repetition.

This Friday, the Comox Valley Art Gallery invites you to the opening reception of three new exhibits: Screen Printing: Ad, Art or Alchemy?, Taking Ink and Once in a Blue Moon from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. exploring screen printing, intaglio printmaking and relief prints.

Everyone is welcome to attend; these exhibits are family-friendly and include a display of art by Comox Valley youth.

Light refreshments will be served, there will be a no-host cash bar and the welcome address will take place at 7:30 p.m. The exhibits will run from Sept. 29 to Nov. 3.

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In the main gallery, Screen Printing: Ad, Art or Alchemy? is a compendium of artworks from the collection of Comox Valley-based screen printer Andy MacDougall, included in this collection are pieces on loan from private collections (regional to international).

All works are based on the process of screen printing, which is also known as silk-screening or serigraph print making. This printing process uses stencils to block out areas which are then printed through silk, other fabric or metal mesh (screen).

Several different screens may be used to print an image in several colors. In this exhibit are artworks by First Nations artists, contemporary visual arts, rock posters, T-shirts, textile art, snowboards, and skateboards.

This show examines the vast world of screen printing and the integration and application of this art form into everyday life while challenging viewers to question definitions of art and how it is produced.

Integral to the exhibit is the aspect of showing you how the prints are made.

MacDougall will bring parts of the print shop to the gallery and while you are surrounded by hundreds of unique and interesting completed prints, you are invited to give it a try. At the opening reception, you’ll be able to pull a small print to take home.

Also, throughout the run of this show, the gallery has scheduled print workshop/demonstrations of three images being created.  Local artists Tony Martin (yes, former CVAG Curator), Andy Everson and Alex Witcombe in consultation with Andy MacDougall have created images for a limited edition gallery fundraising campaign.

Pre-sales begin Sept. 28 and the prints, scheduled for completion Nov. 3, will be launched at the Cirque du Soiree Masquerade Dinner and Dance.

Each week, Andy will lay a new colour down so that as the weeks go by, you can return to watch the completed images emerge. And yes, anyone can try it out. Get in there, roll up your sleeves and pull some prints.

The shop, the ink, and a demonstration are provided, then you can participate.

Reservations will be not necessary, but the gallery requests that you contact us if you plan on bringing a large group (i.e: more than 10 persons and school tours are welcome).

The dates and times for these workshops are Oct. 3, 10, 24 and 31 and Saturdays on Oct. 6, 13 and 27 from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Attendance is free or by donation.

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In the Community Gallery, Comox artist Channing Holland presents Taking Ink, a collection of her intaglio prints: etching, Chine-collé, collographs and viscosity rolls.

Employing drawing and surface treatments, Holland manipulates copper plates, ink and the press to produce a variety of richly textured colour and tonal images on paper. Intaglio (from the Italian word Intagliare, to carve or incise) is a category of printmaking in which the surface of a printing plate has been incised with a design by one or a mixture of techniques.

To print the image, ink is applied and wiped across the surface of the plate, filling the recessed areas. Usually the excess ink is then cleaned off the unworked surface of the plate. When printed under great pressure, the paper is forced into those incised marks, thus picking up the ink and often creating ridges and raised areas in the final printed impression.

The main types of intaglio prints are engraving, etching, aquatint, and mezzotint. If you would like to see how Holland’s intaglio prints are created, she will host a demonstration at the gallery Oct. 13 from 1 to 2 p.m.

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In the George Sawchuk Gallery is an exhibition titled Once in a Blue Moon, featuring the relief prints of the senior elementary students of Beachcomber Community School in Fanny Bay.

Led by instructor Jolaine Kelly, the school’s art teacher, this collection of artworks explores a variety of relief techniques. Relief is a category of printmaking in which a design on a flat surface is carved with a knife or chisel, removing the areas that the printmaker does not want to be printed.

The surface is then rolled with ink and printed and the resulting impression will only show the lines and shapes of the design left on the unworked surface by the artist. The most common types of relief prints are woodcut, wood engraving, and linocut.

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For more information on these and other gallery programs, please visit us on the web, in person or contact CVAG at 250-338-6211.  The gallery is located at 580 Duncan Ave in downtown Courtenay across from the public library.