Skip to main content

Print Installation by Allison Hyde

I was in Chico, California, a few weeks ago, accompanying my wife to a reading she was going to give at the CSU campus there. We took the time to visit the Janet Turner Print Museum, which houses a good collection of prints and has regular exhibitions of prints and related material. The show that we saw was by Allison Hyde, winner of the museum's national print competition last year.



Hyde works with objects that she collects or finds, often things that bear traces of a long association with people's lives, such as furniture and luggage. She makes serigraphs (a posh word for screenprint) on transparent fabric, which were hung on wires across the gallery and lit from behind a la Christian Boltanski. First of all, I liked the courage it took to take something that is so instantly associated with a well-known artist (the lightbulbs and the hazy monotone images being a signature of Boltanski's style) and using them in a way that fulfilled the purpose of her own work. That purpose, it seemed to me, was to illuminate fragments of the past without them revealing all their meaning at once.


She also included a dresser retrieved from a house after a fire:


Given that she adds carbon-related matter to the surface of some of her prints, this added to the haunting feeling of the show, and the sensation that we had stumbled upon the soberly preserved wreckage of past lives.

In another part of town, Hyde was also showing a piece in a joint exhibition at 1078 Gallery. It was a single monoprint, created by inking up the floor of an abandoned house, and later piecing together the giant rubbings that resulted.




It dangled from the wall like a piece of old wallpaper, and once you looked at it closely, you saw all the traces and marks of life that had been picked up by the print. The difference in scale between this and the work at the museum doesn't obscure the fact that Hyde seems to create work that is consistent in its concerns.

The space is a beautiful old commercial building in Chico, and like the Turner Print Museum, it's worth looking into if by any chance you ever pass through this part of northern California.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Soft Ground Etching with Baldwin Intaglio Ground

This is another post where I talk about my own research into how to obtain the best results from non-toxic etching materials -- specifically, the Baldwin Intaglio Ground. This is a form of etching resist developed by printmaker Andrew Baldwin, from the UK, as a non-toxic alternative to the nasty chemicals contained in traditional hard ground and soft ground resists. It comes in a tube, and when you squeeze some out onto an inking slab it looks like etching ink. You roll it onto the copper plate with a brayer, as if you were inking a relief block, in contrast to the traditional hard grounds, which are either melted onto the plate or poured on as a liquid hard ground. Applying the BIG to make a hard ground is relatively easy. Using it as a soft ground can be quite tricky, and it has taken me many tries and many failures to achieve a satisfactory etch.

The main problem, unfortunately, is the lack of specific instructions in preparing the BIG soft ground. Andrew Baldwin has some excellen…

A List of Every Drink in Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises"

I first read Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel "The Sun Also Rises" when I was a teenager, and immediately fell in love with it. For the last couple of years, I have had the incredible privilege of teaching a class based around Hemingway in Paris -- while living and teaching in Paris itself, close to the Boulevard du Montparnasse, where most of the action of the novel's first half takes place.

Of the many things that one notices about the book, the colossal amount of drinking is something that stands out. These people didn't just drink like fish: they drank like whales, as if the ocean they swam in was alcohol and they had set themselves the task of drinking the seas of the world dry of it. During my read-through of the book before class started last year, I tried to underline every mention of drink in the book. And now, purely in the interests of science, I am listing the entire menu of booze mentioned directly by name. Some preliminary observations:
Most of this is…

Brancusi in Plastic

Artist Mary Ellen Croteau is showing these columns made from recycled plastic cartons and lids in the window of the Columbia College bookstore on Michigan Avenue. They are a playful homage to Brancusi's "Endless Columns", with a serious environmental message for our times:

Mary Ellen also runs a wonderful experimental art gallery in a window space in west Chicago, called Art on Armitage. I will be exhibiting a mixed media piece there during August 2012.