Print Matters: Printmakers on the Northwest Coast

Opening Reception: First Thursday, February 4th 6-8pm

print-smLithographs, serigraphs, giclees, woodblocks, monoprints, and embossing; the print-makers of the Northwest Coast employ many terms and tricks to get the job done. Formline design is particularly conducive to printing, as the 3-D curves and excisions of sculpture are reduced to elegant, flowing lines and negative/positive space.

Print-making amongst indigenous artists in the Northwest took off in the 1960s, with early pioneers –such as Henry Speck, Tony Hunt, Roy Vickers, and Doug Cranmer–kicking off a trend that would blossom through the next decades. In 1971 in Seattle–directly across the street from where Stonington Gallery now stands–Joe David, Barry Herem and Duane Pasco stood around a press on the third floor of Dick White’s gallery, pulling their first serigraphs.

Giclée printing is one of the most recent printmaking techniques to emerge in the last century. Using advances in digital scanning and extremely high-end ink-jet printers, it allows artists to scan original artworks and print with almost perfect color accuracy. Giclées can be made on a range of substrates, including photography paper, canvas, and watercolor paper. Examples of artists using giclée are Marika Swan and Thomas Stream, who both use it to re-create original works in a faithful and quality way that would otherwise be impossible with serigraphy. And Qwalsius Shaun Peterson and Alano Edzerza, who pair digital design with the printing to transfer their ideas from pixel to pigment.

While fewer artists spend the time and energy hand-pulling serigraphs, those who persevere–such as Marvin Oliver–reap the benefits of deep, original color and high paper quality. Oliver also remains on the forefront of printing innovation, incorporating embossed dies into his work, and dichroic foils.

The late Roger Purdue also hand-pulled his own serigraphs, often switching colors on the fly as he worked through an edition, leaving us many options and colors to choose from. One of his particular skills was creating a sunset-like gradient background paper, or pulling one section of a design with a gradient. Such handiwork technique is not often seen in today’s serigraphs.

Join us for a celebration of printers and print-making on the Coast in February. Along with our usual print bins, we will be hanging a rotating salon-style show in the side and back galleries to highlight the wide range of styles and motifs that make up printing in the Northwest.


Exhibition Dates:

February 4, 2016 - February 27, 2016