Looking through the eyes of machines as students

International Student Exchange Exhibition

In January 2016 fifteen UWE Art and Design students were selected from Graphic Art disciplines to contribute to an international student exchange exhibition with Maryland Institute College of Art, (MICA) Baltimore USA. The exchange exhibition was developed as part of a touring exhibition (of US Universities between 2015 & 2017) entitled Just Press Print that is currently on show at MICA. The Just Press Print exhibition at MICA runs parallel to a new 16-week course entitled Print and Technology taught by MICA faculty lecturers Johnathan Thomas and Robert Tillman. The class will examine how technology has expanded conceptual and procedural possibilities for making prints. The work generated by the MICA students during the Print and Technology class will be used to produce a printed edition for the student exchange portfolio with UWE and will be exhibited in both Bristol and in Baltimore.

Stuart Cannell, Screen Print, MA Printmaking

The UWE student brief continues the technological approach to making from the MICA Print and Technology class and also borrows from part of the conceptual narrative behind the Just Press Print Exhibition. The narrative aims to comment upon a postdigital view of the Graphic Arts and what this sounds like from a maker’s perspective. The inquiry also aims to elaborate on what a postdigital graphic art might look like and what type of thinking is involved. This ‘behind the scene’s’ narrative is also influenced by early writings on The New Aesthetic and technological based statements from the author Bruce Sterling, where his writings felt like some visual inquiry was needed. For example Mr Sterling suggested in 2012 that, ‘There truly are many forms of imagery nowadays that are modern, and unique to this period. We’re surrounded by systems, devices and machines generating heaps of raw graphic novelty’. Some indications as to what this may look like can be found on a Pinterest board that I have begun compiling entitled Analogue after digital. To view the series of images you must first be signed in to Pinterest.

The UWE student brief for the exchange portfolio invites participants to explore the development of today’s technologically informed scene. Students have been asked to respond to one of the following quotes / ruminations below (that allude to many of the artists works in the Just Press Print exhibition) by Bruce Sterling.

‘Looking through the eyes of machines as humans’ and ‘An eruption of the digital into the physical’.

UWE Students have also been asked to document their thoughts and processes during the making of the work with a view to creating a publication similar to the Working Proof: Featuring Just Press Print publication.

UWE courses and selected students include:
BA Illustration: Olivia Beckett, Tom Handy, Jono KamesterSteve McCarthy and Willem Purdy
BA Graphic Design: Jamie Burns, Eleanor Elliott-Rathbone, Ruth Irvine, Evangelina Anna Papadopoulos and Matilda Scott
MA Printmaking: Stuart Cannell, Nick Greenglass, Judy Lau, Jono Sandilands and Stephanie Turnbull

The portfolio of print will be restricted to A3 sized works on paper (or appropriate substrates) and any print process may be used (mechanical or digital). Each student will produce an edition of 6
 prints. The prints will be distributed as follows:
(1/6 & 2/6 to be exhibited in MICA and UWE)
(3/6 & 4/6 for respective archives)
(5/6 & 6/6 for further exhibition opportunities)

The UWE half of the student exchange exhibition had their first group meeting today. Some early workings from the students can be seen below, more to follow in the coming weeks.

Jude Lau, Printed Animation, MA Printmaking

Nick Greenglass, Relief Print, MA Printmaking
Steve MCcarthy, Inkjet Print, BA Illustration
Jono Sandilands, Blender screen grab, MA Printmaking

Print on the wall

Just Press Print Exhibition, Meyerhoff Gallery MICA, 2016

Curated Traveling Exhibition:
The purpose of this curation project is to bring Just Press Print, a cutting-edge group exhibition from the Centre for Fine Print Research (CFPR) at the University of West England, Bristol (UWE, Bristol) to Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, MD; and to engage local, national, and international audiences through well-rounded academic and public programming. A 16-week undergraduate class, one-day workshop, series of talks and a public lecture at MICA and reciprocal exhibition at UWE, Bristol, will supplement the three and a half month show. Just Press Print is on display in one of MICA’s three main galleries, Meyerhoff Gallery (1,148 square feet), from December 2015 to March 2016. The exhibition will continue to travel in the USA between 2016 – 2017, venues include the School of Art Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Arizona State; University of Utah, Salt Lake City; University of Wisconsin Madison  and University of Texas at Austin before finishing at Museum of Texas Tech University in June 2018.

_MG_8972_MG_8980_MG_8970Just Press Print is an international, traveling group exposition that explores the introduction of 21st century technologies within the predominantly mechanically defined discipline of printmaking. The exhibition will highlight artistic planning, collaborative practices, and the broadening possibilities for the graphic artefact in the digital age. The exhibition includes published prints evolved from collaborations between fourteen carefully selected artists and myself at the Centre for Fine Print Research (CFPR) as part of CFPR Editions. The curitorial premise for the exhibtion and background to the collaborative practice can be found here.

_MG_8962The exhibition draws the attention of the audience to significant, yet often overlooked elements of the printing process. Sketches, correspondence, and draft editions to highlight the importance of the relationship between artist and master printer, the iterations necessary to achieve the final print, and the archiving and recording process accompany the artists’ work. The exhibition also touches upon the evolving nature of digital technology and its potential influence upon established definitions and practices within the field of printmaking. For further insights on the exhibition a preview / interview article was writen by Bruce MCkaig for the What Weekly publication in Baltimore here.

Stan Donwood, Just Press Print Exhibition, Meyerhoff Gallery MICA,

Just Press Print will be supplemented with a 16-week academic course, with workshops, talks and lectures from a visiting artist, and reciprocal exhibition. MICA faculty Robert Tillman and Johnathan Thomas are running an undergraduate class entitled “Print and Technology” to engage students with the subject matter of Just Press Print. Students in the class will use MICA’s state of the art Digital Fabrication Studio to produce their own digital prints. The Digital Fabrication Studio houses 3D printers, laser cutters, computer-controlled milling machines, 3D scanners, and other equipment, and provide students technical support from trained technicians. Student work produced during the course will be curated into a reciprocal exhibition at UWE, Bristol that will include BA Illustration, BA Graphic Design and MA Printmaking. I will visit MICA’s campus to lead a workshop on digital print technology and give a series of talks with a public lecture. Public programs will be free and open to members of the MICA and surrounding community.

Just Press Print features cutting-edge prints that have been exhibited across the world including the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, Mixer Gallery in Istanbul, Christies London and the University of Dundee. The project will provide a forum for raising the public’s awareness of innovative art works and ignite a renewed interest in the art of printmaking. Students will engage with and gain valuable skills in a range of new digital fabrication technologies. Finally, “Just Press Print” will engage professionals in the printmaking field, artists and designers, students and faculty, and art and design enthusiasts.

Carolyn Bunt, Just Press Print Exhibition, Meyerhoff Gallery MICA,

Intended beneficiaries include MICA students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends; Baltimore City and an extended network of artists, designers, curators, educators, and art patrons across the U.S. Just Press Print’s goal is to engage the public with the possibilities of print in the digital age – aligning with MICA’s commitment and expertise in community engagement. The show dispenses with conventional formats, instead displaying 2D and 3D digital prints along with sketches, notes, email correspondence, and test proofs bundled in bulldog clips that hang informally from the walls. This curatorial approach, which emphasizes the creative process, increases understanding of print practices for artists, academics, students, teachers, and the general public by creating visual narratives for a range of competency levels. Public programming will include an inclusive talk on the iterative and collaborative decision making process.

Participating artists include Carolyn Bunt, Arthur Buxton, Gordon Cheung, Paul Coldwell, Stanley Donwood, Richard Falle, Paul Laidler, Sebastian Schramm, Andrew Super and Roy Voss.

The exhibition publication Working Proof: Featuring Just Press Print is available as an e-publication and a printed version through Newspaper Club which is available to purchase.

Photography by J. Thomas and P. Laidler

Evidence of presented lectures and talks at MICA can be seen through the links below.