October – November, 2002
This exhibition in the newly established University of Saint Joseph Art Gallery features Sol LeWitt's prints created between the years 1990 and 2001. A variety of media and techniques are represented including aquatint, etching, linocut, and block print. Although Sol LeWitt's graphics were not shown in his recent retrospective exhibition, they relate quite closely to the imagery of his wall drawings and structures with the added characteristics and subtleties of the media. In addition, through the manipulation of the printing process, a variety of permutations are possible, resulting in serial expansion, and Sol LeWitt is a master of exploiting the many possibilities.
In the 1990s aquatint became his preferred medium, achieving the rich tonalities and muted shades seen in some of the prints in this present exhibition. The earliest works on display, Forms Derived from a Cubic Rectangle, 1990, reflect the subtle tonalities achieved by the aquatint medium and define the dimensionality of these forms. Two prints from a series of six entitled A Square with Colors Superimposed within a Border with Colors Superimposed, 1991, are excellent examples of the simple technique of layering one color over another in aquatint, which produces the rich tonalities that seem to relate to Color-Field Painting. The two diptychs, Wavy Horizontal Lines and Curved Bands, both dated 1996, are amazing examples of the aquatint medium utilized in a painterly manner to achieve the rhythmic undulating lines that evoke harmonious reverie reminiscent of music.
Sol LeWitt's most recent graphics dating 2000 and 2001 explore the relief method of printmaking. Color Bands and Distorted Cubes, both in this exhibition, are striking examples of linocut and block prints. The linocut, Color Bands, a series of eight prints, each composed of a different configuration of vibrant bands of primary and secondary colors are intriguing as well as delightful. The Distorted Cubes series consists of five block prints, three of which are in this exhibition. In each print 21 cubes have been distorted, defying traditional perspective. One print, rendered in grays and black, appears to be the matrix for the others. The four other prints, rendered in vivid colors, appear to be the upside-down and mirror image of the same print. This print was based on a wall drawing which was done in Paris in 1994 and again for the retrospective exhibition at the Whitney Museum in 2000.
Another interesting set of linocuts, which is displayed in the alcove gallery, is a collaboration between Sol LeWitt and one of his assistants, Sachiko Cho, a gifted photographer. Sachiko Cho provided the photographs of mundane objects, and Sol LeWitt responded with brilliant gem-like prints.
March – April, 2002
Faith Ringgold is a renowned artist, activist, feminist, author, lecturer, and teacher. Her dream of being an artist was ever constant. In the 1960s, Faith Ringgold became involved in the racial and social issues that were confronting America during that decade. Her painting style, called social realism, reflected these issues. For her first one-person exhibition, which was held at the Spectrum Gallery in New York City, she painted three large murals: The Flag is Bleeding, U.S. Postage Stamp Commemorating the Advent of Black Power, and Die. Her career as an artist was launched and later expanded to include multi-media sculpture, performance art, illustrated children's books, and her famous story quilts or tanka paintings.
The painted story quilts in this exhibition are on loan from ACA Galleries in New York City. Four of the story quilts are from the "Coming to Jones Road", Part I series. Part fictional, they are based on the racial experience of fleeing to freedom. The original illustrations from the children's book Invisible Princess are on loan from the artist herself.
Faith Ringgold has been rightly described as a "force." She has raised consciousness of the injustices to her race and especially to women artists. She has helped bring about change and has done it with grace and beauty. Her works, be they paintings, soft sculpture, painted story quilts, performance art or children's books, are always significant, imaginative, unique, and innovative. They are thought provoking, challenging, and full of inspiration and hope.
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