Honing their skills

Highpoint exhibition highlights Jerome Residency recipients

THE WEDGE — Maybe it’s the vats of acid or the huge metal presses or the danger posed to upholstery by all those cans of ink, but you don’t see too many spare bedrooms converted into printmaking studios.

(Basements, sure, but you don’t want that stuff anywhere near the couch.)

Joanne Price of Highpoint Center for Printmaking — who, by the way, does have a printing press in her basement — said that’s one of the things that separate printmakers from other visual artists who might hole up alone in a studio. Much of the time, printmakers work in a community print shop like Highpoint where they’re rubbing elbows with other printmakers.

For five years now, Highpoint has offered a trio of up-and-coming printmakers some time and space to hone their skills through the Jerome Residency. Judging from the work on display by the latest batch of residents — Pamela Carberry, Andy Morien and Kirsten Peterson — that time seems to have paid off.

You’ll have to hurry, because their work is coming off the walls soon after this issue of the Southwest Journal hits newsstands. But even if you don’t make it in time, it’s a safe bet you’ll run across work by these three promising artists somewhere down the road.

Price, a studio manager who works closely with the Jerome artists, said the residency has been a “stepping stone” for emerging artists in the past. It also can be a time for artists to experiment. Price said Peterson, for example, had never worked with screen-printing before her residency.

For her series of prints titled “Infrastructure,” Peterson screen-printed layers of pale, pastel colors onto a thin sheet of semi-transparent plastic, called Duralar. Faint architectural images — buildings, a cityscape — are overlapped with blocks of color that suggest shadows and mass. The smooth surface of the Duralar gives the areas of pink, blue and orange a glossy sheen.

In Morien’s large mixed-media works, printed images are covered in layers of smeared paint and beeswax that give some of the pieces an apocalyptic tone.

“Complex” includes images of 20th century warfare printed through the photo-lithograph process and surrounded by streaks of red and orange paint that suggest a battlefield explosion. In several prints that borrow images from cave paintings and Egyptian hieroglyphs, Morien covers up thin, scratchy intaglio lines with a layer of wax, as if the mists of time are clouding those ancient images.

Carberry also creates texture in her prints, but the brushstrokes in her quiet landscapes were not added later with paint. She printed them using a textured surface, a process called collography.

Price said Carberry built up layers of glue on a piece of cardboard, working the surface with a brush. Those brushstrokes, cemented in the glue, later transferred to the printed images.

Prints like the paired diptychs “October” and “January” are studies in the subtle use of color. In two images of a lake, areas of white and gray are transposed so that October’s overcast sky becomes January’s snow-covered lake.

In “November,” a steel gray sky is reflected in a body of water, the two separated by a gash of rusty orange — a line of trees covered in blazing fall foliage.

Carberry came into her Jerome Residency already having a strong background in printmaking. She’ll teach a summer continuing
education course on printmaking
at the Minneapolis College of
Art and Design.

So, for Carberry, the residency was less about honing her technique than working side-by-side with other printmakers, she said. She found a place in Highpoint’s community of artists.

“Community” was a word Price used repeatedly in describing the printing studio.

“For sure, there’s a lot of interaction between our co-op artists and our residency artists,” she said. “I think that’s one of the big advantages of working in printmaking because, if you’re a painter, you work in a studio by yourself.

“You don’t get that kind of interaction like you do at a community print shop.”

Go see it
The Jerome Residency group show runs through June 2 at Highpoint Center for Printmaking, 2638 Lyndale Ave. S.