26th Parkside National Print Exhibition
For three decades, the Parkside National Print Exhibition has shown some of the finest examples of original (small) prints from artists nationwide, and it is one of the longest-running competitive print exhibitions in the Midwest. The tradition continues, and it’s doing so in a big way:
It's NOT Small Anymore.
April 1, 2019
April 11, 2019 | 5-7 pm
June 30, 2019
L J Douglas
Sue Carrie Drummond
Professor of Art and Associate Director, School of Art | Illinois State University
Co-founder | Manneken Press
In a 2015 study, University of Virginia psychologist Timothy Wilson found that 67% of his male subjects would rather submit to minor electric shock than spend fifteen minutes alone with their thoughts. The shocks were self-administered, and the study revealed that 25% of the female subjects felt the same way.
Of course, being alone with one’s thoughts can mean a variety of things. For some people it may feel like doing nothing at all. For others, it is an opportunity to access a rich inner life that is deep under the surface during regular workday activities. Depending on one’s active career, family life, or stress levels, it can be difficult to find time and focus to be alone with one’s thoughts.
Printmaking can certainly be, and is often, a collaborative endeavor. However, even a group studio project requires individual reflection. Sometimes this reflection is a deliberate effort: shutting the door, turning off the music, sitting down, or going for a walk. Other times it visits a person during that magical time between sleep and wakefulness. I would argue that no matter how it’s achieved, quiet thinking time is necessary for creativity, productivity, and perhaps even basic mental health.
On the occasion of jurying the 26th Parkside National Print Exhibition, I was happily presented with a lot of work that was clearly the result of being alone with one’s thoughts. Undulating values, meticulous rendering, and detail met my eyes in an overwhelming number of works. That stuff doesn’t just make itself. And so, I would like to thank and acknowledge the artists whose work is in the exhibition for making the most of time spent alone with their thoughts. There is certainly a lot of hard work, knowledge, experimentation, evaluation, and trouble-shooting represented in these works as well; I don’t mean to downplay all of those important things. However, in these busy times full of juggling responsibilities, maintaining relationships, keeping up with world or local news, and nurturing one’s cultural appetites, we often lose sight of ourselves, what it means to be alone, and the fertile ideas that can come out of solitary contemplation.
FROM THE DEAN
Lesley H. Walker
Dean, College of Arts and Humanities | University of Wisconsin-Parkside
Among the many aesthetic pleasures that grace the Parkside campus are the dozens of wood-framed prints that adorn our redbrick walls. As you walk throughout our buildings, you might happen upon John Boyd’s 1988 “Portrait of Van Gogh” with its Provencal yellow framing a steampunk version of Vincent in rose colored shades. Or you might catch a glimpse of the 1992 humor-filled print by Warrington Colescott, “My German Trip,” of a naked man wired to a multiple-choice-test device who’s being interrogated by an NEA officer! Their size, craft, wit, and complexity call out to the passer-by to stop and take a look. Small treasures to be admired and savored between classes!
In 1986 Professor Emeritus Doug DeVinny enlisted the support of the University Advancement Office to put on an exhibition that would have a national scope. The first Parkside National Small Print Exhibition (PNSPE) kicked off a year later and has been going strong ever since. Professor DeVinny’s original mission was two-fold: to educate students and community about the art of printmaking; and, at the same time, to forge a national community of printmakers. The framed works that now hang on our walls—winners of earlier shows—perpetuate this educational objective and celebrate the artists who made them.
For over three decades, the Parkside National Small Print Exhibition has shown some of the finest examples of original prints in all media—intaglio, lithograph, relief, screenprint, and the list goes on—from artists nationwide. PNSPE is also one of the longest-running competitive exhibitions in the Midwest.
This year represents the 26th Parkside National Print Exhibition. Careful readers will note that the word “small” has been deleted from the exhibition’s title. Both respecting traditions and evolving with new technologies, we wanted to open the door to a more capacious understanding of prints to include 3D prints and alternative display methods. We received nearly 600 submissions—not all were small—and our juror, Sarah Smelser, selected 66 works to exhibit. Viewers will have the chance to appreciate the works of 57 artists from 26 states.
Parkside’s 50 Years Celebration motto, “Bold Beginnings, Future Focus,” can easily be applied to the tradition and innovation embodied by the Parkside National Print Exhibition. It has been an amazing 31 years; and we look forward to as many more to come. Enjoy the show!
Lesley H. Walker
Oliver J. Johnson
About The Juror
Professor of Art | Associate Director of the School of Art
Illinois State University
Sarah Smelser received her BA from University of California at Santa Cruz, her MA and MFA from the University of Iowa. She has been an artist in residence at the Vermont Studio Center; The Franz Masereel Center in Kasterlee, Belgium; Artica in Bilbao, Spain; Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, CA; Jentel Artist Residency in Banner, WY; Skopelos Foundation for the Arts in Skopelos, Greece, Anchor Graphics in Chicago; and the Ballinglen Arts Foundation in Ballycastle, Ireland. Her work is in such collections the Readers' Digest Association, the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, the Jane Vorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, the Spencer Museum at University of Kansas, Hallmark Corporate Collection, and the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts.
Smelser has had solo exhibitions at Bridgewater/Lustberg & Blumenfeld in New York City, Kathryn Markel Fine Arts in New York City, Urban Institute for Contemporary Art in Grand Rapids, MI, Carnegie Mellon University, Bradley University, University of Wyoming, Diablo Valley College, Luther College and Spencer College. Her work has been included in many invitational and juried shows, and been shown at numerous art fairs including Art Frankfurt, Estampa (in Madrid), the Affordable Art Fair in New York, Art Miami, Red Dot Art Fair in New York and Miami, Art Santa Fe, Art Chicago, EDITION Chicago, Boston Print Fair, Baltimore Contemporary Print Fair, Editions/Artists’ Book Fair, and the Los Angeles Art Show.
Smelser's work has been reviewed in Art on Paper: The Journal of Prints, Drawings and Photography, as well as Abstract Art Online, and has been reproduced in New American Paintings. Most recently Smelser was the featured interview in Monotype, Monoprint, & Strappo Ezine.