Flatbed. Slugfest. The Serie Project. The Leo Steinberg Collection. The Ransom Center. Women Printmakers of Austin. If you aren't already convinced that Austin is serious about prints and printmaking, here's one more name to seal the deal: PrintAustin.
This new ... well, one hesitates to use the word "festival" anymore, but there it is – festival is devoted to the practice and state of that particular art form, and if you need a measure of how seriously its founders are about that art form, they aren't running it for just a few days or even a couple of weeks; they're filling an entire month with exhibitions of prints, talks with printmakers, demos of their work, opportunities to see rare prints from the Blanton Museum of Art and Ransom Center's outstanding print collections, and, naturally, opportunities for you to purchase and add to your own collection. Joining forces to make this celebration happen are an impressive array of print enthusiasts: 17 galleries, two university art programs, one high school art program, a half-dozen artists' studios, some art businesses, and a couple of restaurants.
Anchoring the fest will be "The Contemporary Print," a juried survey of current work in Texas running Jan. 18-Feb. 15 at Big Medium Gallery at Canopy, 916 Springdale. On view will be works by 23 artists, which had to pass muster with a trio of judges who know their prints: Katherine Brimberry, co-founder and owner of Flatbed Press and senior master printer; Francesca Consagra, senior curator of prints and drawings and European paintings at the Blanton; and Jeffrey Dell, professor of studio art and head of printmaking at Texas State University. Following the opening reception on Saturday, Jan. 18, 6-9pm, will be an artists' talk on the exhibition, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2-4pm.
The inaugural PrintAustin will cap things off on Feb. 15 with the Flatbed Contemporary Print Fair, a daylong showcase for printmakers and publishers of fine art prints from across the state, featuring demonstrations of assorted printmaking techniques and sales of prints. The fair lasts from 10am to 5pm and is free; however, for just $10, you can attend a preview party on Friday evening, 6-9pm.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves; this month of digging prints is just beginning. Prior to the opening of "The Contemporary Print," you can catch the opening of "Coastal Inspirations: Gyotaku and Other Prints by Deborah McLouth" on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 5:30-6:30pm, at Quality Seafood Market, 5621 Airport. On Wednesday, Jan. 16, the Blanton will be giving an intimate glimpse at its extensive print collection – it spans Dürer to Picasso – in its Print Room. From 5-8pm, the museum will take 20 visitors at a time into this den of treasures. And if you finish there early enough, you can jog over to Women & Their Work, 1710 Lavaca, to hear "Unbound: A Candid Talk About Artists' Books" with the University of Texas' assistant professor of printmaking, Sandra Fernández (6-7:30pm). Fernández is also one of the 11 artists represented in "UT Printmaking: Working Generations," an exhibit that includes prints by current faculty members and graduate students in the school's Department of Art & Art History, as well as a few alumni. It runs Jan. 11-Feb. 8 at Davis Gallery, 837 W. 12th, with a PrintAustin reception on Friday, Jan. 17, 7-9pm.
Obviously, with more than 50 exhibits and events, PrintAustin has much more going on than can be covered in this space. So be on the lookout for the PrintAustin printed brochure that provides the 411 on everything that's going on. Or pay a visit to www.printaustin.wordpress.com.
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