| [Assignment 01] Presentation & Critique

Cracking Reality, mounted on wall. Photo by Roxanne Desrosiers.

Cracking Reality, paper prints mounted on wall.
Photo by Roxanne Desrosiers.

Cracking reality, velum prints on table. Photo by Roxanne Desrosiers.

Cracking reality, velum prints on table.
Photo by Roxanne Desrosiers.

This past Wednesday was our class presentation and critique for our first assignments.

Our team project aimed to see how we could use screen printing to comment on sustainable living by comparing technological cracks that are undesirable and annoying, to the metaphorical cracks of our society in which real life and virtual life are intrinsically linked.

By doing so, we tried to take a more sustainable social and cultural approach to our very materialistic theme. The material cracks of a call phone screen are a stepping stone to something deeper. In fact, we wanted to show what hides behind our material cracks and ask the viewer “where do you stand?” amidst all this technological confusion. We hope that through our project, we were able to reach our viewers’ different narratives and make them realize that social interactions have gone rare in our society of technology. They need to look away from their screen, and into the world that surrounds them. We were very happy with the final result, and even more so that our project received a positive critique !

Overall, the other projects really impressed me; I was not disappointed by a single one. Every team worked hard to tie in sustainability with their project, and we could see that as much energy was put into the conceptual aspect of the project than on the production of the finished work.

 

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| Atelier CINQUNQUATRE

"Diva Kiki", an experiment with screenprinting.

“Diva Kiki”, an experiment with screenprinting.

A student screenprinting.

A student screenprinting.

As part of our screenprinting learning process in DART 391, we went to attend a workshop at Atelier CINQUNQUATRE, located in Montreal’s Mile End. Needless to say it was quite a fun experience !

The class got the chance to see the whole screenprinting process, from burning the screens to actually printing different images. Then, we got the chance to do our own prints: 5 prints that were part of a numbered series, and 5 monoprints (for a total of ten prints per team).

| “One day I will find the words, and they will be simple.”

Source: Roxanne Desrosiers

Source: Roxanne Desrosiers

As our weekly assignment for the third week of the semester, we had to go Guillermo Trejo’s exhibition Protesta.

I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed when I entered the ARPRIM gallery; I think I was under the impression that the exhibition would have been much bigger than it actually was (from my past experience, I had only been to quite larger exhibitions than this one). Also, the exhibition space seemed rather empty, because Trejo’s prints were all white on a white wall.

Nonetheless, once my first impression put aside, Trejo’s exhibition was quite powerful. As soon as you entered the room, you felt the tension in his prints between the Mexican government and the public. You knew, even if your understanding of Spanish is very limited, that the slogans did open many debates back in Mexico. In fact, the whole essence of this exhibition is to reveal the role of prints in public space, and how the government in Mexico quickly removes these powerful slogans and commentaries that are in opposition with the government’s political views.

Trejo’s prints themselves symbolize the procedure used by the Mexican government to remove the posters that were put up in public spaces during protests. Indeed, the words were printed in bold black ink, but then covered in white ink. Because the white ink was not totally opaque, the white would only partially cover the slogans so that they would seem faded, but still readable.

To find these prints in Montreal made me realize how the very powerful slogans could, to some extent, be applied here in Quebec. With all the controversy surrounding the Charte des Valeurs Québecoises, the collusion in our government and the student strike last year, we might not be better off than Mexico…

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These are examples of slogans that could be found in Trejo’s prints:

“Behind every fascism there is a failed revolution.” – this slogan was actually the first one you noticed when you enter the gallery, since it is hung on the wall opposite of the gallery entrance.

“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find a meaning in the suffering.”

“Paz con justicia y dignidad”, or “Peace with justice and dignity.”

 

 

 

 

| Blexbolex

Another fascinating screenprinting artist is Blexbolex, a multi-award winning French book illustrator working in Berlin. His experimental approach to combining illustration with industrial printing techniques and book production is what makes up his unique style. Blexbolex entered art school with the intention of becoming a painter, but left having discovered his talent as a screen printing artist. Since then, he has worked regularly with book publishers in France and Germany, as well as for the press. In 2009 he received the prestegious Golden Letter award for best book design throughout the world. His most famous book is undoubtedly Seasons, published in 2010 by Enchanted Lion Books. In this graphically stunning picture book, Blexbolex explores the cyclical nature of time by looking at the seasons. Using objects, landscapes, activities, and different types of people that are associated with each season (such as a skier, a swimmer, a roasted chestnut seller), Blexbolex evokes the sense of permanency given to life by its cyclical nature, despite the fact that time is always passing (Barnes and Nobles). It is classified as a picture book for kids, but I find it suits a much older audience. Many adults would want to add this beautifully illustrated book to their personal library !

| Dan McCarthy

Night Air – 5 color screen print (glows in the dark) Source: http://www.escapeintolife.com/interviews/dan-mccarthy-celebrated-screen-print-artist/

Night Air – 5 color screen print (glows in the dark)
Source: http://www.escapeintolife.com/interviews/dan-mccarthy-celebrated-screen-print-artist/

When I think of screenprinting, what comes to mind first are often bright, bold colors. I was surprised to find artist Dan McCarthy’s work rather dark, mostly representing night scenes. In fact, there are recurring images in paintings, art prints, drawings and posters: the viewer often sees telephone poles, wires, silhouettes of forests at night, houses with the lights on in the dead of night. In an interview, McCarthy mentions that he is attracted to telephone poles and wires because he likes the idea of drawing attention to something that is generally overlooked or ignored. Also, he finds that the variety of intersecting lines are a lot of fun to draw. Also, all of his prints share a similar, dominant style, a style that is very much graphic.

In the same interview, he also explains his technique when it comes to creating his posters and prints, which are mostly screen printed. He stars with a pen and ink drawing, and then scans the drawing into Photoshop and add the color on different layers. He rarely uses more that four or five colors. From Photoshop, he prints out films of each color layer and expose each layer onto a screen. After that, he begins the printing process.

The poster below is a poster that McCarthy did for ABC’s teleseries LOST as part of a fan appreciation project.

 

 

Sources:

– McCarthy, Dan. “Interview With Dan McCarthy: Celebrated Screen Print Artist.” Interview with Lara Cory. Escape Into Life. 

| Seripop

Seripop was one of the artists that had been mentioned during our first screenprinting class. I had heard of the name, but had never seen any of their artworks before. This is why I decided to choose them as part of my research on screenprinters. Seripop is composed of two Montreal-based artists, Yannick Desranleau and Chloe Yum. They have worked together since 2000. Their collaborative projects have touched the fields of visual arts, music and graphic design. They have exhibited both in Canada and abroad, notably at the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal. Also, their work is part of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s public collection in London. They are probably the most recognizable print artists in Montreal. I find their work very appealing to the eye of the viewer. Seeing the image of the artwork below, it made me realize that screenprinting can also be used not only as a series of prints, but also as part of an entire installation. Indeed, the artist duo considers their art as being “site-responsive”, which means that the art might consider a space as a skeleton or frame, opening itself up to interventions, adjustments and alterations. Seripop highlight their target site, embellishing each location with a experimental and perceptual design (Joseph Henry, “Paper Planes: Seripop Takes Over YYZ”). In an interview with The National Post (interview with Leah Sandals), Seripop mentioned that the try to be playful in their installations and posters, because it keeps them from being bored. They also say that their installations are a nod to the idea that the poster is one of the only ways for people to express themselves in an urban context. This is why the artist duo especially likes working with the ephemeral aspect of posters; their work is ultimately made to be destroyed. Even with their paper exhibitions, there are elements that are left on the floor that the visitors will walk on, which get more and more destroyed as people visit.

 

Sources:

– seripop.com – Desranleau, Yannick and Chloe Lum. “Hardly Paper Thin.” Interview with Leah Sandals. National Post [Toronto]. March 1 2012.

– Henry, Joseph. “Paper Planes: Seripop Takes Over YYZ.” Blouin ArtInfo, August 16 2013.