Datebook: ISU Printmakers Take Exhibition And Sale Online | WGLT

Datebook: ISU Printmakers Take Exhibition And Sale Online

Dec 31, 2020

In a typical year, art collectors have just two days to snap up prints during the Annual Printmakers’ Exhibition and Sale at Illinois State University. 

As we’ve all noticed, this is not a typical year. 

So, the exhibition and sale have gone on--online, that is--and expanded the dates for the event into the new year. This is the 36th annual sale and exhibition that offers up the works of students, faculty and alums of the printmaking area of the Wonsook Kim School of Art. 

“It’s a lovely outreach opportunity,” said Veda Rives Aukerman, interim director of the Normal Editions Workshop, a nonprofit research facility within the College of Fine Arts. She helped organize the virtual sale that gives students a chance to take sell their original artwork.

“We so enjoy having people come into the studios to see where the work is made. But with everything else going online, that seemed like the way to go.” 

The exhibition and sale are currently open through Jan. 22. Rives Aukerman said  for many of the students, there’s only one opportunity to participate in the annual event. So, the technical assistance from the university was vital to making the event possible. 

“We had really good support from web and interactive technologies to help us do it,” she acknowledged.  The process wasn’t difficult, but it was time consuming.

“We had to ask for submissions much earlier so that we had time to work with them, to scan it, to have a uniform presentation of the imagery and not just whatever we might get in images from people.” 

Getting the works created was another hurdle the artists had to overcine. Virtual classes and social distancing aren’t necessarily conducive to printmaking. But Rives Aukerman said they found a way.  

“Our faculty members, Sarah Smelser and Morgan Price, each tackled that in different ways. Sarah had a hybrid class that allowed the advanced students that were familiar with the equipment to still have access.” 

“Morgan switched from lithography--which is very equipment intensive--to monotype, which is easier to work on at home. Monotype means that you expect to have one or maybe two impressions from inking a smooth surface where the ink is manipulated, and you don’t really have a repeatable matrix like you would if you had a wood cut or an etching or a litho stone. 

“Morgan was anticipating that we might have to go all remote, even if we were starting out hybrid. Of course, that came to pass. His students had the opportunity to really create a lot of unique works rather than editions of works.” 

The artwork available through the exhibition and sale includes portraits, still lifes, abstract images, landscapes and more--in black and white and color. 

“It’s always a really broad spectrum,” Rives Aukerman explained. “It’s always interesting in the print sale, when we’re receiving works, the little voice in my head sometimes is like, ‘Mmmmm, this is not going to sell,’ but I get proven wrong all the time,” she added with a laugh. “You just never know. It depends on the people seeing the work and how they respond to it.” 

Although the event is strictly online, the array of works on view are as varied as ever. 

“There’s monotype works that explore a lot of natural themes, nature or items that could be found in nature. We have an alum who does a lot of work plein air, outside, so he does a lot of landscapes. 

“There’s a lot of abstract work where it’s purely responding to color and texture, there’s some figurative work, and works that are evocative of mechanical structures. So there really is something for everyone.” 

There are several options for art buyers to pick up their purchases, including curbside pickup and free local delivery. The 36th annual Printmakers’ Exhibition and Sale runs through Jan. 22.

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