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Friday, Jan. 18, 2013

Gallery Night & Beyond: Peltz Gallery's "Top Drawer Prints I" Exhibition

Thoughts from Master Printmaker Warrington Colescott

By Peggy Sue
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On the weekend of January 18 and 19, Winter Gallery Night and Day welcomes several exhibitions that will be coordinating wit the Southern Graphic Council International Conference Print:MKE coming in March. Peltz Gallery features two exhibitions, including “Top Drawer Prints I” and “Top Drawer Prints II.” One of these exclusive exhibitions was curated by the 90 plus year old Master Printmaker Warrington Colescott, who personally wrote artistic statements on why these artists were important to him.

The exhibition “Top Drawer Prints I” reflects a select group of artists whose works on paper attracted Colescott’s attention, and were then placed in his “top drawer” storage cabinet. The selections in the Peltz exhibition represent his premium choices, which might be flawed, but critically interesting artwork. Colescott offers a few of his astute thoughts as to why these artists were special to him.

John Wilde: Born in 1920, John Wilde called Wisconsin home. When World War II ended he returned to Madison to study art history, drawing and painting with James  Watrous, founder of the city’s Elvehjem Art Museum. Colescott said of the exceptional magic realist Wilde, “It was my pleasure to work with this notable artist on the two examples in this show.”

Claire Van Vliet: A Canadian by birth, Van Vliet has been presented with an honorary Doctor of Arts degree and a John and Catherine MacArthur Foundation Prize. This visiting professor at UW Madison was influential in paper making and printmaking, where Colescott adds, “Her prints in this show are from her time in Ireland…and she maintains her Janus Press in her Vermont Studio…where her plates and lithographs are editioned.”

William Weege: The UW Madison MFA printmaker was first a Civil Engineering student and in 1971 joined the University Art Department. As Colescott mentions, “In 1988, Weege led a committee to form Tandem Press…to produce fine art prints in editions...It is now in its 25th year.”

Ron Ruble: An important print artist, Ruble has little connection to the UW Madison graphic art department. Colescott first noticed his work in New York because he was an acclaimed artist during the 1970’s and 80’s, the period of the Print Renaissance. Colescott concludes, “In those shows, Ruble was a leading practitioner…and paid attention to the inventiveness and brilliance of his mixed media intaglios.”

France Myers: A Racine native, Myers moved to San Fransisco when the Beat Poets were influential and then shared the creative voices of the Laurence Ferlinghetti and his City Lights Books. She eventually attained an MFA at UW Madison, and since 1988 has been an art professor at the university. Colescott proudly announces, “At the 2013 meeting of the Southern Graphics Council in Milwaukee, she will be awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award and a solo exhibition at the UW Milwaukee Inova gallery.”

These artists represent only a few of the printmakers Colescott included in the Peltz show. With the intense focus on prints beginning this January through March in Milwaukee, spend some time learning about the history of this interesting and fascinating art medium together with its past, present and up and coming practitioners. 

Peltz Gallery presents “Top Drawer Prints I and II” through March and hosts a reception Gallery Night, and Gallery Day, with a gallery talk by Colescott beginning at 1:00 p.m. The University of Wisconsin Inova and the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design hosts the international “Makers in Print” opening January 18 to coordinate with the Print: MKE conference coming mid March. 

 

 

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