Print exhibit shows off students? talents

By By Steve Coons

By Steve Coons

A four-part exhibition put on by the U’s printmaking department will be housed in the Art Building’s Alvin Gittins Gallery for the next few weeks.

The bulk of the work displayed was created by students enrolled in Justin Diggle’s printmaking classes. Diggle is the head of the printmaking department by default, he says, because he is the only person in the printmaking department. He encouraged his students to make big prints last semester, and students interpreted the instructions in different ways. An underwater scene by Amber Heaton takes up half the wall, and John Andrews’ print was big because it’s made of many small parts. Diggle explained that he was trying to help the students avoid complacency.

“Sometimes it’s very easy to find yourself working in a particular size because it’s convenient,” Diggle said.

The students were also encouraged to mix techniques and mediums freely. Diggle, who received his undergraduate degree in sculpture, said that the boundaries between mediums have deteriorated and that a lot of the work in galleries today is mixed media. A carousel crafted by Megan Philibin, for instance, mixed sewing and printing. Texture and text were printed onto cloth, which was then used to make stuffed animals. Meanwhile, multiple trees printed on light Japanese paper by Andrew McReynolds were hung from the ceiling to create a forest effect.

The exhibition’s other three parts are housed in the corners of the gallery. In one corner, prints made by attendees of the Southern Graphics Council’s conference for printmaking held in Chicago in March 2008 are featured. Everyone at the conference made prints and participants received a random selection of prints in return. The prints the students made and distributed are being displayed on the Art Building’s second floor.

Another corner houses “Print, Swap, Print,” a screen print project where students and printmakers from the recently formed Copper Palate Press brought in different imagery and printed on each other’s prints shortly before the start of the semester.

The exhibition’s final selection was based around a theme of surveillance. Titled “Are you Looking at Me,” the exchange portfolio features the work of printmakers from nine different countries and will be shown by Diggle in England in about two weeks.

Richard Payson

U student Chris Brown views works of art created by students in Justin Diggle?s printmaking class on display at the Alvin Gittins Gallery in the Art Building.