Graphic Reality: Mexican Printmaking Today
Free gallery opening & reception: Friday, September 14, 2007, from 6:30–9:00 PM
On view: September 14 through November 28
Highpoint is pleased to announce that it will be the next stop for a traveling exhibit of prints by a young generation of Mexican artists. Lithographs, screenprints, relief prints, etchings, and other works on paper as well as innovative hybrids of printmaking and street art, skateboard culture, and animation will be presented.
Graphic Reality: Mexican Printmaking Today will open on Friday, September 14 with a free reception from 6:30–9:00 PM. Guests that evening will have the opportunity to meet Artemio Rodríguez, curator of the exhibit. In addition there will be a variety of special tie-in events for HP Members, educators, and families.
Following successful presentations at International Print Center New York in Fall 2006 and at Columbia College Chicago this past Spring, Highpoint is proud to bring Graphic Reality to Twin Cities audiences. There have been very few exhibitions, in Minnesota or elsewhere in the U.S., to focus exclusively on Mexican printmaking today. This gives Graphic Reality special importance and urgency, and indeed, the show represents the U.S. debut of several artists.
Organizer and curator Artemio Rodríguez says many of the artists in the exhibit are pursuing their craft independently, outside of well-known printshops. They come from all over Mexico; some continue to reside there while others are now living in the U.S. and beyond. Though far-flung geographically, and working in a range of techniques and styles, the artists’ total dedication to hand printmaking is one of Graphic Reality’s unifying strengths.
Rodriguez’ own artistic background echoes this sense of commitment. He first learned printmaking from a book publisher working in his hometown in Mexico. Now in his 30’s, Rodríguez has lived in the U.S. for the past thirteen years; he co-founded La Mano Press in Los Angeles and his prints have been widely exhibited as well as collected and published in the book American Dream.
Finding artists to include in Graphic Reality has been an organic process for Rodríguez. Through frequent participation in group exhibits, a grant, and other activities in Mexico, he’s able to meet other printmakers and keep in touch with the art scene there. He explains these friendships are important because “For this exhibit I relied on artists I knew and respected… the best way to connect with good artists is through the recommendation of good artists.”
“We are in our thirties now, so we are no longer a group of kids trying to be artists,” Rodríguez says of his fellow participants. “[As] ‘adults’ we are giving shape to the art created during our time.” He adds that the printmaking community in Mexico is “fresh and alive, and diverse” and draws creative inspiration from countless sources, whether artistic, cultural, or personal. Graphic Reality supports this truth will help break assumptions that Mexican artists still work primarily in the vein of Rivera, Orozco, or other Social Realists. Rodríguez asserts, “Even when speaking of social foes our perspectives are unique and unexpected, filled with lots of humor.”
Rodríguez hopes that Graphic Reality will not only tour widely in Mexico and the U.S. but that the exhibit itself will evolve over time, becoming a work in progress that inspires exchange and dialogue in the communities it touches. “The show is not only mine (in the sense that I was responsible for the selection of works) but a more collaborative process between the artists, curators and museums.”
Graphic Reality features work by Marcelo Balzaretti, Mizraim Cardenas, Oscar Camilo de las Flores, Demian Flores, Verónica Gómez, Rogelio Gutierrez, Darío Ramirez, Joel Rendón, Artemio Rodríguez, Jose Hugo Sanchez, Cesar Alberto Chavez Victoria, and others!
Special thanks to artist Brian Sago for organizing and transcribing an e-mail interview and to Artemio Rodríguez for his thoughtful answers