On display August 13 through August 26:
20 Years of Printmaking
by Robert Shreefter:
Saturday, August 20 from 5-7pm
Narrative and making meaning have been at the center of all my artwork. This not only reflects my interest in this kind of representative process through artmaking but also my previous work as a college English professor. My work over the years has included painting, watercolor, bookmaking and printmaking. Painting was my first medium; I worked on layering painting so that the canvas had a “history” and often ghost images. My fasciation with printmaking is personal: first, as the son and grandson of printers, I feel that printmaking allows me to pay tribute to the craft my father and grandfather practiced and, second, I am drawn to making art that is repeatable and historically tied to images in books, political posters, etc. The most compelling reason I gravitate toward the printmaking process is that it allows me to experiment and holds an element of surprise. The process and technique of making prints is somewhat out of the artist’s hand—the images produced are the mirror image of what is on the plate; the actual process of printing on a press adds to the unpredictability of the finished piece. And in doing monoprints, I can allow for the greatest amount of experimentation as I make prints in series, sometimes up to thirty. The ghost left on the plexiglass plate allows for continuity in both the narrative and in the imagery.
This exhibit is work over a 20-year period. It represents my way of working in series--producing prints that are thematically and technically related then moving on to another series. Each series is informed by some theme, bits of poetry, the need to make feeling manifest while all the time learning and combining new techniques.
For many years my work thematically explores and represents states of being, both physical and emotional. Initially, landscapes’ convention of using the horizon line allows for the possibility of representing differing, often contradictory, states that can sit near, next to, overlap, obliterate and influence each other but still lie in the same “frame”. The series of leaf prints are made from real leaves and explore the landscape in yet another way. Though not as consciously about states of being, the layering and use of ghost images allow for using natural materials that help create the emotional and visual themes of the work. For artists such as Donald Sultan, the use of natural objects—lemons, oranges, flowers, etc.—are recognizable, everyday objects but very often take on narrative qualities through placement and the viewers’ associations which anthropomorphize them. The last two series of this work, Castle of Reeds, and Her House of Water and Stone explore another avenue of inquiry. Here I create two series of prints that use poetry by poets such as Mary Oliver who use landscape for metaphor, meaning, visual images, texture, etc. Such poets capture the intensity, spirit and details of nature, especially of outer Cape Cod. Here also is my attempt to translate poetic intensity and images and use lines of poetry as integral visual elements of the prints I make. An additional impetus of this work is rooted in my interests in literacy, the connection of the written and the visual, and the intersections of visual imagery in poetry and two-dimensional visual representation.
Also, my work for many years has explored how states of being might be best translated and represented in printmaking. For instance, I Map this Galaxy series comes from a larger body of work in which I “map” childhood memories and feelings. I combine drypoint and monoprint techniques. The drypoint allows for a sharp and graphic line, while the monoprinting is more painterly and diffuse, allowing for layering and using ghost images. These various techniques create the images but also are metaphors for what I hope to represent—the sharp and graphic imprint of events and feelings that sit near, on top of, overlapping, and obfuscating the more sensory layers and “ghosts” of experiences.
My newer works are screenprints that combine drypoint and monoprint. Some are solely screenprints, which is a more immediate and direct process that doesn’t use a press to create an image. Screenprinting allows for both graphic and painterly elements and the making of screens that use text and/or photos.
I have an MFA from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Over the years I have studied at Penland School of Art (North Carolina), Zea Mays Printmaking (Florence, MA), Fine Arts Work Center (Provincetown, MA), Provincetown Art Association and Museum (Provincetown, MA).
I had an Artist Residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig, Newbliss, County Monaghan, Ireland in the summer of 2009; was Artist in Residence, Cambridge University, Homerton College, Cambridge, England in printmaking and bookmaking 1998. I taught at Art New England for two summers, 2001 and 2002.
I was a member of the Experimental Etching Studio (in Boston) participating in many EES Arts shows at our studio; a former member of the Tudor Street Printmaking Studio in Cambridge. Currently, I am currently a member of Zea Mays Printmaking, (Florence, MA)
Until three years ago I was an Associate Professor at Lesley University (Cambridge, MA), in the Graduate School where I trained visual arts teachers in the Art Education Program. My main interest is using artmaking to enhance literacy skills. I also taught classroom teachers how to use visual arts in their teaching practice. I have been an instructor at Massachusetts College of Art, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. I continue as an adjunct at Lesley University as well as doing consultation of various K-12 schools.
I was Director/Curator of two galleries at Lesley: the Marran Gallery, from 2001-2011 and the Atrium Gallery, Lesley University from 2007-2013, which both exhibited work of students, faculty, community artists. In this capacity I guided students (art education and expressive therapy) in the skills of of curating and mounting exhibits.
I have been in many group shows including: Arts New England Faculty Show at the Plum Gallery in Williamstown, MA; Castle Hill Center for the Arts, Truro, Ma; and SECA, South East Contemporary Art Center in Winston-Salem, NC, Provincetown Art Association and Museum, I have participated in members’ shows. In December 2000, I had a solo show at the Monroe C. Gutman Library at Harvard University; and in September 2003 I had a solo exhibit at the Wellfleet Public Library Gallery in Wellfleet, MA--and now another in 2016. My work is currently represented by the Works Gallery in Wellfleet.
To contact me about buying and seeing more work,
call 617-270-8253 or email@example.com
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come in and pick up an application,
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