Published: December 19, 2006
The Bruce Museum has mounted the exhibition “Black and White Since 1960: Prints from the Collection of Reba and Dave Williams,” on view through February 25. The exhibition is selected from the collection of Reba and Dave Williams, who are among the country’s foremost print collectors and recently established the Print Research Foundation in Stamford, Conn., to promote the study of American printmaking.
The exhibition includes 18 prints, many of them in large formats, that illuminate an important aspect of modern printmaking and offer visitors a new perspective on age-old print processes in the hands of modern artists.
In the 1960s, art presses began to produce large, high-quality color prints for the first time. The new processes stimulated a keen interest in color prints among artists and collectors alike. But artists also continued a longstanding tradition of work and experimentation in black and white. “Black and White Since 1960” shows the enduring popularity of black and white prints among contemporary artists.
Many artists and connoisseurs consider the black and white form intrinsic to the print medium, and they appreciate its close connection to the history of printmaking, which extends back to the Fourteenth Century.
The exhibition will include Jennifer Bartlett’s “Day and Night,” 1978, which exploits etching and dry point to produce a variety of abstracted surfaces, and Craig McPherson’s nocturnal view of Yankee Stadium, which brings to life the many textures of the urban night sky. Artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Diebenkorn and James Rosenquist use the black and white format to investigate the possibilities of the medium. Jasper Johns employs the centuries-old technique of etching to produce the delicacy and detail seen in his print of a traditional theme, “The Seasons,” 1989. Claes Oldenburg exploits the freedom and spontaneity of lithography, developed in the Nineteenth Century, in his “Soft Saxophone,” 1992, which echoes his famous soft sculptures. Alex Katz employs aquatint in an arresting print on an appropriately chosen subject, “The Swimmer,” 1974.
Many of these artists meditate on themes they explore in their painting or sculpture practices, and the black and white medium provides the opportunity for them to interpret familiar motifs in new ways, as is also seen in works by Jennifer Bartlett, Jim Dine and Philip Guston.
For additional information, www.brucemuseum.org or 203-869-0376.
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