Historic printmaking display inspires contemporary exhibit

Printed Matters Now, Gordon Snelgrove Gallery

Printed Matters Now, an exhibition in the Gordon Snelgrove Gallery, University of Saskatchewan. Photo by David Bindle

Centuries ago, printmaking techniques—some of which are still used today—revolutionized western culture, making news, literature and art available to the multitudes. Visitors to the Link Gallery’s Printed Matters exhibition in the Murray Building are offered an historical glimpse into local, national and international examples of printing as a means of mass communication and as an art form.

As an extension of the historical perspective, 14 local artists and printmakers with University of Saskatchewan connections, ten of whom are U of S alumni (see below), created original prints inspired by material housed in University Archives and Special Collections. Printed Matters Now in the Gordon Snelgrove Gallery features the new original prints alongside their inspirational archival material.

Dee Gibson (MFA’10), supervisor at University Archives and Special Collections was a driving-force behind the exhibition, supported by the experience and assistance of U of S archivist Cheryl Avery (BA’82, Arts’85) every step of the way.

Gibson invited local artists to participate. “They are all people I was inspired by in class or by their experience in printmaking, people I admire as artists,” she said. “It’s a nice tie-in to have the U of S connections; for some of them to have the opportunity to revisit campus and to have a personal investment in the project because it supports the university they attended.”

Being familiar with the artists, Gibson brought out a selection of archival material she thought might inspire them. “I tried to tailor the selection to the various styles and interests of the artists. Some had their own ideas of what they’d like to look at based on what they were working on in their studio practices.

“The artists really came together as a community,” explained Gibson. “Artists work alone a lot, but printmaking brings people together; they need to share equipment and space. It’s really community oriented.”

Each artist produced 20 prints and will receive a complete collection of all 14 prints. University Archives and Special Collections and Library and Archives Canada will each receive a set, and the remaining sets will be set aside as gifts to future major donors of the planned library expansion project. A catalogue of the material is now in the works as a result of how well the exhibition has been received.

Printed Matters Now, Snelgrove Gallery

Guests enjoy the the Printed Matters Now exhibition at the reception, June 27. Photo by David Bindle

Techniques used “span all the basic printmaking methods”: screen printing, etching, stone lithography, aquatint, woodblock, linocut (relief), embossing and waterless lithography, a technique pioneered by former U of S professor and honorary degree recipient, Nik Semenoff.

The community aspect shone through preparing the gallery for the show. “We developed strong connections among the University Library, University Archives and Special Collections, the artists, alumni and the community,” said Gibson. Many of the artists put in a lot of extra effort to paint the gallery walls and hang the pieces.

A reception was held July 27 at the Snelgrove Gallery. For exhibition and gallery hours, visit usask.ca/snelgrove

Watch Shaw TV Saskatoon’s video on the exhibitions.
Map of U of S galleries.

About the artists

Joseph Anderson (MFA’09) was born in Edmonton, raised in southern Alberta and currently resides in Saskatoon. He received a bachelor of fine arts from the University of Lethbridge in 2000 and his master of fine arts from the University of Saskatchewan in 2009. He has exhibited his work in group and solo exhibitions, including the University of Lethbridge Helen Christou Gallery, the Dunlop Gallery (Regina), the Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon), La Petit Mort Gallery (Ottawa), Headbones Gallery (Toronto), Daniel Cooney Fine Art (New York City), and most recently in Bloodless & Boneless, a group show at the Trianon Gallery (Lethbridge). Joseph has worked as a curatorial assistant at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery (Lethbridge) and a gallery assistant at the Kenderdine Art Gallery / College Art Galleries at the U of S.

Robyn Anderson is an emerging artist originally from Corner Brook, Newfoundland. After studying in Harlow, England for a short time and residing in St. John’s for a while, she now attends University of Saskatchewan while completing her masters degree. Her work explores a need for narrative and escapism to express anxiety. Robyn draws her inspiration from artists like Kiki Smith and Kathe Kollwitz as well as nature, her dreams, classic fables and myths.

Patrick Bulas is an artist who has lived in Saskatoon for the past 12 years. Born in Edmonton, he has received both his BFA and MFA from the University of Alberta. He has had solo exhibitions in Edmonton, and Saskatoon and has participated in group exhibitions in Finland, Vancouver, and Spain. In addition to his studio practice, he is the printmaking studio technician and a sessional instructor at the University of Saskatchewan and a founding member of Ink Slab Printmakers. He has spent the past several years trying to understand the wonder and beauty of phenomena studied in physics and astronomy through woodcut, etching, and mezzotint. His latest series of prints depict his cat Lucy interacting with a variety of animals and he has collaborated with fellow artist Jordan Schwab on a series of work exploring alternative approaches to printmaking. He’s pretty sure there’s a connection between his cat, using gunpowder to print a woodblock, and the mysteries of the universe, but he hasn’t quite found it yet.

Mackenzie Browning was born in Oshawa, Ontario. Mackenzie graduated with his BFA (honours) from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and is expected to graduate with an MFA from the University of Saskatchewan in the fall of 2014. Mackenzie has exhibited in both Canada and the United States. He was awarded Kingston’s emerging artist award in 2011. He also received the Margaret Craig Scholarship in Fine Art and the Helen Nininger Memorial Scholarship in Fine Art from Queen’s University in 2011. Mackenzie currently lives in Saskatoon and maintains a studio practice in both Saskatoon and Toronto.

Jillian Cyca (BA’09) grew up in Swift Current, Saskatchewan and has lived in Saskatoon since 2004. She works mainly in printmaking and drawing, but has also explored papermaking and ceramics. Her most recent work is a series of prints that combine silkscreen and intaglio, and she is now experimenting with paper cutting and embossing. Jillian graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 2009 (double honours, studio art and art history), and spent one semester studying art, art history and Japanese culture at Kansai Gaidai University in Hirakata, Japan. Since 2009, Jillian has worked as an art educator and gallery assistant, and currently works as a curatorial assistant intern at the Mendel Art Gallery. In 2010, Jillian co-founded Ink Slab Printmaking Collective, a group of artists who maintain a shared printmaking studio in downtown Saskatoon and collaborate on various projects and exhibitions.

Cate Francis (BFA’08) is a printmaker and illustrator from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She obtained a BFA from the University of Saskatchewan in 2008. In 2012 she received a of a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier grant to pursue an MFA at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design which she completed in the spring of 2014. She has shown work in galleries across Canada and the U.S.A., and her work has been published in numerous local and national publications including Applied Arts, Grain Magazine, and the Antigonish Review. She is a former board member of the Saskatchewan Craft Council, juror and volunteer for AKA Artist Run Centre and a founding member of Ink Slab Printmakers. In addition to her personal art practice, Cate also works as an award-winning freelance illustrator for numerous clients in the Canadian arts and entertainment industry.

Dee Gibson (MFA’10) is interested in exploring the connections between the natural environment and attentive introspection. This interest has taken her to the east coast of Canada, Scotland, Ireland and most recently to a 3-month residency in the northwest of Iceland. Dee graduated with a BFA in Painting from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University in 2003 and earned an MFA from the University of Saskatchewan in 2010. Originally from rural Ontario, she currently lives and works in Saskatoon.

John David Graham is a multi-disciplinary artist who started his professional creative life by studying architecture and working as an architect. John now balances a broad visual art practice, independent filmmaking, and teaches print media at the University of Saskatchewan. John has been invited to numerable international artist residencies and has been the recipient of many art awards, grants, fellowships and prizes. His print media, artist’s books, drawings, paintings, installation works and short films have been widely exhibited and screened in North America, Asia and Europe. His artworks are included in many collections including those of Loto-Quebec, National Bank of Canada, National Library of Canada, National Library of Quebec, New York Public Library and the Canada Council Art Bank. He is currently based in Saskatoon.

Benjamin Hettinga (BFA’08) is a born-and-raised Saskatoon artist. He graduated from the U of S with a BFA in 2008 where he focused on screen printing. For the past five years Benjamin has focused his art practice on making paper cuts but recently has started focusing on screen printing again. He also writes and draws a series of comics called Purrfect Strangers and keeps busy designing artwork for local and non-local bands.

Rowan Pantel (BFA’08) is a Canadian artist based out of Regina, Saskatchewan. She holds a master of fine arts from the University of Regina, and a bachelor of fine arts from the University of Saskatchewan. Within her work she explores themes of childhood memories, family folklore and life growing up in rural Saskatchewan. She works with a variety of media including, printmaking, drawing, photography, installation, painting, and puppetry.    

Nels Rosassen (BA’12) completed BA from the University of Saskatchewan, among other things

Leah Taylor (BFA’04) is the associate curator at the Kenderdine Art Gallery / College Art Galleries at the University of Saskatchewan. She earned an MA in history in art from the University of Victoria, and a BFA from the University of Saskatchewan, with a major in printmaking. Leah has curated numerous projects including: Gus: the archive of Kenderdine, the Paved Arts Core Series, Re-Imagined, and Picasso and his Contemporaries. She coordinated the panel discussion Peter Smith & The Virtues of Art,facilitating a dialogue that highlights a variety of issues pertaining to mental health and art.Leah’s writing and curatorial practice focuses on contemporary art and the dissemination of social, political, and theoretical ideologies in art. She is currently on the editorial committee and board for BlackFlash Magazine, and on the Artist Advisory Board for Nuit Blanche, Saskatoon.

Luke Warman (BFA’09) was born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1979.  His father, an architect and painter, and his mother, an abstract artist, encouraged his artistic skills in both a representational and fantastical sense. Luke lived in various cities, provinces, and countries before choosing to settle in Saskatoon and pursue an education in fine arts. Luke graduated with a degree in fine arts specializing in printmaking from the University of Saskatchewan in 2009 and began his career as an assistant junior graphic designer at a local print shop here in Saskatoon  Through time and dedication Luke is now manages a print and design shop here on campus. In his spare time, he still finds time to engage in drawings and paintings centering on the plastic universe, creating whimsical representations of an adolescent imagination.

Biliana Velkova (MFA’10), originally from Sofia, Bulgaria, is currently based in Vancouver. Her practice incorporates photography, performance and humour to explore the significance of consumerist culture, diaspora and social identity. She has an MFA from the University of Saskatchewan and a BFA from Concordia University. Biliana has recently been appointed the arts coordinator at the soon-to-open Anvil Centre, a boutique conference centre and cultural hub in New Westminster, BC.