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July 6, 2009

Station Gallery has recently revived its N. Novak Print Studio. This is an exciting move, since this box car studio was once a locus of printmaking experimentation and production for decades. It was after all, one of the hallmarks which set the Station apart from other public galleries. This made us unique—and it now continues to do so.  The studio played host to many preeminent printmakers such as Otis Tamasauskas, Anne Meredith Barry, Don Holman, Richard Toms and many others.

Artist Todd Tremeer works on his latest print in the Nicolas Novak Print Studio at Station Gallery.

Artist Todd Tremeer works on his latest print in the Nicolas Novak Print Studio at Station Gallery.

I believe that the momentum of the Print Studio will continue as we enter the mid-point of the First Phase of the print studio revival. I’m very hopeful that the studio will attract many artists and that this will be a creative hub of a printmaking renaissance in the region. Traction is what we need now that the print studio is back on track.

July 3, 2009

The University of Toronto Art Centre is currently hosting an exhibition titled Sense of Place. Having visited the exhibition last Friday, July 3rd I found the show a peripatetic survey of contemporary printmaking. It would seem that the medium is alive and kicking in Canada and Michigan. This cross-border survey gave audiences an opportunity to absorb the scope of print technologies. I was delighted to see Dan Steeves’s print (free to ignore moments of restlessness in the mind) of the evacuated void in the place of domicile. This 2006 work was also featured along with other works in a show called Tantramar Gothic.

Other highlights were Libby Hague’s work Everything Needs Everything: Rehearsal for Disaster. In looking up Hague’s title in the accompanying catalogue, I see that her piece was awarded Second Place. My initial response was “Congrats, Libby!” but then I wasn’t aware that this show was a juried exhibition. This adds a problematic layer to an exhibition which seemed to be a themed meditation on the vagaries of place. Adding the competitive and adjudicated layer certainly complicates a show whose intent was to present selected artists in a open forum of discussions surrounding the print medium.

I always enjoy to hearing of N.E. Thing Co. co-founder, the artist formally known as Ian Baxter. He has recently legally changed his name to IANBAXTER& (the ampersand is emphasized!). I’m not really sure how he is associated with the printed medium, exactly, but his inclusion in the project calls for more thought. I don’t know where to start first, conceptualizing the ampersand in his name or his relation vis-a-vis the printmakers in the show… I guess the word “and” prompts an entire series of inquiry.