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Printmakers on the move: Lunenburg, Church Point next stops on travelling printmaker’s exhibit

A collaborative travelling exhibition from four artist-run printshops in western Nova Scotia featuring over 100 original art prints by more than 40 artists will be showcased in Lunenburg and Church Point this spring.

The four artist-run printshops: th’YARK in Yarmouth, Elephant Grass in Annapolis Royal, Le Manivelle in Church Point and the Mahone Bay Printmakers came together in 2017 to create the exhibit 4 Ateliers: Printmakers on the Move/Graveurs Ambulants. Each printshop solicited works from their members and together drafted an itinerary to travel the resulting exhibition to each of their communities.

“This fabulous collection includes an amazing variety of print techniques: intaglio, relief, collagraph, monotype, mezzotint, cyanotype and various combinations thereof,” reads a description of the exhibit.

The exhibit is making stops in the home communities of each participating printshop. Last year the exhibition was hosted in Yarmouth and Annapolis Royal and was very well attended and received, said Sally Warren, a member of the Mahone Bay printshop who are hosting the travelling exhibit from March 16 to April 14 at The Peer & The Swan Galleries on Lincoln Street in Lunenburg. The exhibit will be open Thursdays through Sundays from 1 to 4:30 p.m.

We’re really excited to be doing this,” said Warren, who is helping to organize the show.

An Opening Reception on March 16 includes a talk starting at 2 p.m. by Mahone Bay Printmakers founder Ed Porter (snow date March 17). Also, part of the exhibition is an Intaglio Demonstration on March 23 at 2 p.m. and a Monotype Workshop on April 13 also at 2 p.m.

There will also be the opportunity for the public to make a relief print daily throughout the show, starting on March 17, using a hockey puck. Relief prints are made with a soft plate, explained Warren, such as a soft vinyl block for example, or hockey pucks “that have a lovely rubbery texture.” The artist cuts away all the surfaces they don’t want to show on the plate, then it is inked with a roller and press printed.

“Many of the artists in the Mahone Bay print group have carved out hockey pucks to create an image on the puck so we will have a selection of pre-cut relief plates” that exhibit goers can chose from to use to make a print, said Warren. The print will include the artist’s name and can be taken home.

The show will also feature an interpretive area about printmaking and some of the different methods used, said Warren. “There are so many techniques that go into it,” she said, noting back in the days of Rembrandt and other artistic greats, creating art on plates “was the only way you could have more than one copy” of an original work of art.

The Purpose of the 4 Ateliers exhibition is to build awareness and understanding of printmaking, which is alive and well in the region, said Warren. “Many of the printmakers in these shops are artists who have been focusing on this medium all their professional lives, while some are relatively new to the field,” she said. “The exhibition provides a valuable opportunity for the artists to see firsthand the prints and ideas that are being generated by their printmaking peers. It is hoped that our exhibition will increase public understanding of printmaking as an avenue of creative expression and inspire other artists to explore its possibilities as a part of their own art-making practice.”

The final stop for the travelling exhibit will be Université Sainte Anne in Church Point from May 1 to June 15, hosted by La Manivelle. Public workshops and talks will also be part of that exhibit.

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