Saturday, December 31, 2011

Why take a printmaking class?

Printmaking techniques such as etching and relief printing go back for many centuries. Envision a time without computers. Or a time without copy machines. Or a time without any machines for that matter. - difficult right? Original printmaking was the only way in those times to broadcast information such a botanical images, portraits, religious imagery, cityscapes and scenes of every day life. Today, printmaking remains a tool for artists to produce affordable original art. This is very different from making reproductions of existing images. In an etching for example, the artist has to draw the image from scratch on a plate, the image is then etched and for each impression the image has to be inked and rolled through the press by hand. Although printmaking takes skill and time, it is a rewarding way to make something with your own hands rather than sitting on the computer. Since we have plates we can pull multiples which can be sold for a lot less than paintings, but the collector still enjoys the benefits of purchasing something that is original and hand-made. So, artists, give yourself the gift of a new artmaking medium. Revisit your drawing and painting skills. Learn something that is rooted in history yet that can be applied to your own style and sensibility. Invest in yourself! Our trained teachers stand by to open a brand-new world to you!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

“Emergence” by Adabel Allen was a hit!

Adabel Allen is a well-known artist in Albuquerque and has many family and friends who come to support her as an artist. It was pouring rain out the night of her opening and people came anyway! It was lovely; all the smiles, hugs and good energy that everyone brought with them. Adabel was delighted to have her work hanging at New Grounds and we are proud to represent her. At each opening we have a featured artist give a demonstration of a printmaking process. For this opening she demoed a two plate gravure printmaking process.
She has many techniques up her sleeve that she uses in her work. Even experienced printmakers had a difficult time figuring out how she did it. As seen in the piece, “Nesting-Safety”, there are many colors and layers that have been applied using stencils and selective wiping.
A review of her solo show can be found at the Weekly Alibi newspaper.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Adabel Allen's solo show Review in the Alibi!!

Tale Feathers
Stories from a bird's-eye view at New Grounds Gallery
By Sam Adams

"Nesting—Origins” Adabel Allen speaks through birds.

Her gravure works on display at New Grounds Gallery, Emergence, use the avian subjects as muse and protagonist, and the effect is both sentimental and whimsical—not to mention visually stunning.

A UNM grad in fine arts and printmaking, Allen's process is meticulous and multitiered. She incorporates mediums including ink drawing, photography and poetry into her roughly 7-by-10 inch multi-plate prints, which she issues in series of six or seven. She blends methods of the new and old, using Photoshop to assemble her pieces and create photo positives to transfer onto gravure plates. (She uses nontoxic polymer plates, as opposed to the traditional copper plates first used in the early 19th century.)

The series is aptly titled, as it brings forth the idea of a weighed-down soul taking flight through self-expression, breaking free of an inner darkness. This can be seen in Allen's use of text in her images—poetry which is subtle yet sincere. In a piece titled "Drawn to Nature 2—Balance," she writes, "Keeping balance in this wayward life—as I weave in and out of waterfalls and waves of atmosphere—cresting atop the earth ... landing on each twig to perch—contemplate release and move on." This text hovers above an ornately feathered ink-drawn bird, contrasted against a background of moody deep purple and blue hues. The bird is perched atop a lonely, spiraling limb and seems to be pondering a departure.

“"Drawn to Nature 2—Balance” Allen's use of intricate inked patterns within the feathers of her subjects has a manic quality that, upon close inspection, can be unnerving. Despite the flawless technique of her printing and her mastery of mixed mediums, these pieces aren't simply pretty bird pictures.

The black and white tones in her characters jump out starkly from the blended, faded pigments of her backgrounds, which look often like fading sunsets or barren, forlorn fields. This is where some of the poignancy in Allen's work is—the contrast between the bold characters and their distanced surroundings. There is a feeling of extra-dimensionality to the pieces, as if the subjects are somewhat divorced from the world around them.

The crafted chaos in Allen's work spreads into the configuration of Emergence, which is divided into four subseries. Each set has a distinct look and feel. One, titled Nesting, appears to be about the ideas of environment and refuge. Another, titled Remembrance, delves into nostalgia and feels like it could be a set of visual eulogies. This series stands out from the others as it is all in monochrome grayscale and sepia tones, and it’s more straight photography than mixed-media. Each piece is a diptych, showing a bird in one image and a nature scene in its counterpart, such as a picture of withered, windblown flowers. They bring to mind century-old stereographs. And you get the feeling that in Allen's world of anthropomorphic metaphors, these birds are loved ones lost to time.

But the bleakness of this series is often offset by wry humor. One of the most stunning pieces is "Nesting—Origins," which depicts three cranes in a nest of haphazard twigs balanced on telephone poles, with wires hanging in the background. The boss crane holds a frog in its mouth. There is something devilish going on here—the coexistence of resplendent nature and industrial gloom; the admission that Allen's magnificent protagonists are not innocents.

Allen's work is frenzied and mysterious, but in a way that seems to perfectly capture and reflect the complex battleground of a poet's mind and heart. Her birds are messengers, flying home stories that are marked too deeply in love and pain to be nakedly exposed. Instead we must contemplate the delivery, and appreciate the beauty and courage that emerges from it.

New Grounds Print Workshop & Gallery
3812 Central SE
Runs through Oct. 29
Tuesdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Wednesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Christine Herman delights in this newest body of work!

Christine created art for not only her first solo show at New Grounds; she also spent a lot of time preparing for the Affordable Art Fair in New York September 22-25!

You can see here that she is a prolific artist and she enjoys what she does!

Herman is ready to give her demonstration of a woodblock print and monotype combined. She has many tricks of the trade that she utilizes when creating her art work. It takes many years of practice to do what she does!

Herman starts by applying green ink with a brayer (like a roller) onto a thin sheet of polycarbonate.

She then finishes the top 2/3 of the plate by rolling yellow onto the plate

Now Herman gracefully carries her plate through the crowd to the nearby press!

She is now placing the paper on top of the inked plate while Kristen, Intern, is assisting with running the plate through the press. You can see Herman removing the paper from the plate which the ink has been transferred onto.

Now it's time to roll the ink onto the carved woodblocks. She is only applying ink to the surface of the block. The wood that has been carved away will not print. Herman also joins two woodblocks together by using masking tape to mask out areas she does not what the black ink to be on.

She then removes the tape and applies the maroon color to the edges.

Now she is ready to print. The blocks must be registered on top of the monotype that was already printed. This takes much concentration and precision.

And the final print!

Thanks to everyone who came out to the reception! Here are a few snapshots to share!
Christine Herman and Regina Held, Director

Mary Sundstrom, New Grounds Member and Teacher
Tanya and Richard Wolfson, poet
Nick Hudak, New Grounds Member

Thanks to Jeff Simpson for taking the photographs!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Jeff Simpson’s grand opening!

Jeff's black and white relief prints drew quite a crowd! His images are graphic yet whimsical in design. Jeff was delighted to have his first art opening at New Grounds! If you wanted to know what his work was about he didn't hesitate to talk about it. The atmosphere was cheerful and lively. Everyone who showed up this month seemed very pleased about the opening.

An impromptu fashion show happened just before the demonstration by the artist. An up and coming designer named Aspen Couture, came along with four models wearing her designs. This was a great chance for publicity.

I have worked at New Grounds for 3 years now and have not seen a completely relief print show! It was a pleasure to be at Jeff's opening. I have a passion for relief prints so it was nice to see them all in one room. At the demonstration Regina introduced Jeff donning his fashionable ladybug apron. It is an old family heirloom and he wore it just for this special occasion.

Jeff starts the demo off with an introduction to carving tools and how to use them.

Then he rolls on the ink with a brayer, using the Akua Intaglio Water-based inks. New Grounds is almost completely water-based these days! It is a big change from oil-based inks however they have beautiful results!

Once Jeff has rolled the plate through the press he shows the final image to the crowd.

Thanks to Michael Rudahl for the photographs!

Molly, our summer intern has gone back to college for the Fall! Thanks for all your help