In its Second Year, the Nashville Print Revival Expands its Reach

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Nashville Print Revival at Belmont University. (Photo by Megan Kelley)

Celebrating its second birthday, the Nashville Print Revival expanded this year into a week-long series of printmaking workshops, demonstrations, lectures, and events. From February 14th to the 22nd, local and out-of-town lovers of print gathered to experience the area’s many work-spaces, shops, and educational resources. Hatch Show Print anchors Nashville’s strong, close-knit printmaking community, partially due to the willingness of its printmakers to cooperate and share techniques. Often, the success of print – both as a community and an art form – hinges on collaboration and a cross-disciplinary approach to creating an inclusive dialogue through work that speaks to diverse audiences.

This year’s Print Revival celebrated that conversational aspect of printmaking, including more workshops than ever and emphasizing educational outreach in the region. MTSU hosted Heather Freeman and Orange Barrel Industries, and brought an impressive curatorial perspective to the area through invitational showcases of national work; Vanderbilt’s printmaking department worked with Michael Krueger to create a layered silkscreen print edition; Belmont held workshops with Heinrich Toh and Ashton Ludden, bringing an expressive and human perspective to work-making.

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Nashville Print Revival at Belmont University (Photo by Megan Kelley)

Many of the exhibition events held in conjunction with the Print Revival played on this visual energy and educational approach. Belmont’s Gallery 121 opened Scratch the Surface, a display of work by Revival printmakers that showcased prints as three-dimensional explorations. Carrie Scanga’s Ballast, a precarious stack of drypoint prints folded into brick shapes, held a pleasant tension in the center of the room. Carrie Cox’s delicate screens of prints floated on the windows, while Lesley Patterson-Marx’s cut prints formed intricate collages, encouraging the viewer to reconsider printmaking in new forms.  Patterson-Marx also included a Viewfinder toy with slides that explained the printmaking process, which audience members could then experience for themselves at the Make Ready Printmakers Ball at Belmont: A collaborative silkscreen event, during which visitors silkscreened maps of Print Revival locations, allowed audiences to create prints which were threaded together to form a sculpture installation that hung from the ceiling of the gallery lobby.

Following Friday’s Open Portfolio at Watkins – where artists were encouraged to introduce their work to the public and create a conversation – collaboration continued to be a theme during the evening’s artist lectures. Michael Krueger explained his fascination with Utopian ideals and escapism, and how his psychedelic silkscreen prints led his teaming-up with filmmakers to create animations for a documentary about the artist commune Drop City. Heather Freeman described how her practice shifts from digital to print – translating prints into mobile application artist books – and creates bridges between two mediums. Heather March Sanders and Blake Sanders described the competitive nature of their collaborative practice: though different in visual style, their approach to the same topics challenges their work to continue growing and exploring, seeking new ways to create messages.

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Printacular Poster Sale at Barista Parlor (Photo by Megan Kelley)

On Saturday, print revivalists attended Kelsey Taylor’s linoleum demonstrations at Plaza Artist Materials and a silkscreening presentation at Platetone Printmaking, Paper and Book Arts with the Appalachian Center for Craft. For many new to the skill sets, both workshops gave participants physical ownership in the traditional processes, encouraging new interest in the techniques as well as promoting artist resources for the budding enthusiast. For those more interested in artist-produced works, the final event of the Revival – the “Back By Popular Demand” Printacular Poster Sale at Barista Parlor – gave a wide spread of printed delights for a variety of visual tastes.

Bringing together both local favorites and printmakers and enthusiasts from across the nation, the Nashville Print Revival once again provided a space for communities to connect to each other and  to the living art of American printmaking.

Visit the Print Revival site for more information and updates on future events.

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About Megan Kelley

M Kelley is a maker, thinker, and do-er based in Nashville, TN. An advocate for dialogue in contemporary art, Kelley is an active contributor to a variety of diverse publications and arts initiatives, including writing for Number Inc, curating for the project space 40AU, and working with Platetone Printmaking, Paper and Book Arts. Hir social practice, as both artist and curator, revolves around providing educational and developmental opportunities to artists and audiences alike; a fascination with the complexities of communication and narrative; and inviting others into collaboration, curiosity, and cross-pollination. Read more at studiOmnivorous, do more through Messner Point, and play more at The Inbound Lands.