Mazatl I have a guest V. Note today from our printmaking instructor Nikki Barber. Back in April 2020, Nikki interviewed Sam Davidson, of Davidson Galleries in Seattle. Nikki asked Sam about his favorite works in the Davidson collection. This is a delightful interview about a variety of printmaking artists around the globe, with interesting work I hadn’t seen before, and insights you can’t get from anyone else. Nikki Barber Nikki Barber Nikki Barber is a Seattle-based printmaker, focusing on woodcut and vitreography. She teaches printmaking at Seattle Artist League and other art schools. She is the fine art photographer for Davidson Galleries. She is represented by MESH Fine Art in Chicago, IL. Sam Davidson Sam Davidson Sam Davidson is the owner and director of Davidson Galleries, located in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square, which maintains the largest inventory of fine, original prints in the Northwest. In addition to its holding of nearly 20,000 prints and works on paper ranging from c. 1480 to the present, new exhibitions (in person and online) are mounted every month for the First Thursday Gallery Walk, currently taking place virtually. Sam is a member of the Seattle Art Dealer’s Association (SADA) and a charter member of The International Fine Print Dealers Association, a professional organization dedicated to maintaining high ethical standards for those dealing in fine original prints. N – Hi everybody. My name is Nikki. I’m here with Sam Davidson. I will just read off my bio, so you know about me. I am a Seattle – based printmaker. I focus primarily on woodcut and vitreography. I teach at various schools around Seattle, primarily Seattle Artist League. I work for Sam at Davidson Galleries. I am their fine art photographer. Sam has been kind enough to introduce us to five of his contemporary artists we recently showcased and he is going to talk about ten pieces. Here is Sam. S- Hello N – Hello. Sam Davidson is the owner and director of Davidson Galleries, located in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square, maintains the largest inventory of fine, original prints in the Northwest. In addition to its holding of nearly 20,000 prints and works on paper ranging from c. 1480 to the present, new exhibitions (in person and online) are mounted every month for the First Thursday Gallery Walk, currently taking place virtually. Sam is a member of the Seattle Art Dealer’s Association (SADA) and a charter member of The International Fine Print Dealers Association, a professional organization dedicated to maintaining high ethical standards for those dealing in fine original prints. N – Our first artist is Jeffrey Maron and this is “Immortals III”. Jeffrey Maron Jeffrey Maron Immortals III Painting on Handmade paper. 2012. Signed Verso. 30 x 22 inches Jeffrey Maron From the Center Painting on Handmade paper. 1997. Signed Verso. 30 x 22 inches S – Jeffrey is an artist in the US. He generally works with familiar geometric forms and uses a particular palette that one can see when you review others of his – often very warm. He [does] works on paper and [has] an interesting way of working. He uses heavy paper and uses pigment and various other materials (either oil and some acrylic, and wax) then burnishes it, so there’s no need to put glass over the finished piece. The paper is super heavy and the surface, because of the wax, is sealed in such a way that it is quite safe, being unframed. They are all done in this particular way. He prefers to have the pieces not covered. Obviously, like many printmakers, he doesn’t care for any glare or interference you would get from covering them with glass. He’s come up with a wonderful way of addressing that. Caroline Thorington Caroline Thorington Magician 3rd State Color Lithograph . 2013. Edition 5/12. Signed. 17 x 22 1/2 inches (Image) 20 x 26 inches (Sheet) Caroline Thorington Summer Celebration #5 Lithograph and Chine Collé. 2006. Edition 8/12. Signed. 24 3/4 x 35 1/2 inches (Image and Sheet) N – Our next artist is Caroline Thorington. This is Magician 3rd State S- She is an East Coast artist. I wanted to bring attention to her. She’s working, obviously, here in her studio. She fancies herself as a magician. I think anyone who’s worked in lithography respects this notion. This particular process allows for many different ways of treating the surface from straight forward drawing with wax crayon (litho crayon of varying hardnesses) to tusche or a liquid solution, which looks somewhat like india ink. The more you spend time working on these thick limestone slabs, the more you can create special effects. One of the things that’s evident in this piece and a number of the others is her use of the tusche and the way it dries with the reticulation. As it dries, it leaves sort of like shrink marks, but it still retains a very fluid look of the drawing. [Y]ou have the feeling as if the person had been working in watercolor on the surface. She makes particularly effective use of it. She seems to really favor, particularly when she’s working with the figure, a topographical perspective. [T]he viewer is looking down on a group of people – the beach or some other place. The impact of this topographical view is enhanced by the use of the shadow. The wonderful, strong contrast the shadow provides; and playing that flatness against the volumes of the figures, makes for an effective image, as far as I was concerned. There are stones that she shows in her studio. It’s something that artists have worked in a traditional way in lithography – with the limestone slabs. I think [the artists] develop a special relationship with these enormously heavy stones they’re lugging around and refining or grinding one image off to prepare for the next. The fact that she has created an image, specifically acknowledging their presence, is definitely reflecting their important role in her life as an artist. Robert Jancovic Jr Robert Jancovic Jr Database II Color Lithograph. 2018. Edition E.A.. Signed. 8 x 8 1/2 inches (Image) 10 1/4 x 10 1/2 inches (Sheet) Robert Jancovic Jr All My Lithographs Color Lithograph. 2017. Edition EA 3/20. Signed. 22 1/2 x 36 inches (Image) 27 1/2 x 41 1/2 inches (Sheet) N – Next we have Robert Jancovic Jr. S- Robert Jancovic is a Slovakian artist, who comes from a family of artists. His father, Robert Jancovic, we had shown his work over the years. I was confused when I first contacted him. Based off an image I had seen, I thought I was getting his father, and it turned out it was, in fact, his work. I was excited to see more of his work. This particular image shows something like – I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Tony Fitzpatrick’s work, but it’s a scattering of sort of personal iconography of creatures and forms, which have some meaning or are suggestive of the artist. [Jancovic Jr] uses them in a number of the images. Often they are buried within an image or just a part of the image. They make for a very interesting thing in a very personal way of building an image. He, too, has a strong feeling about litho stones. *laughs* Here are a stack of them called “All my lithographs”, which have the images still on them, although in many cases, these would have probably been ground off or it’s an imagination reflected in these images. The massive presence of the stones, obviously, weighs on him and are a big part of his life just moving them around and preparing them for the next image. Both he and Caroline Thorington chose to make those a part of the image making that they chose to offer us. Mazatl Mazatl Extincion 15 Linocut. 2019. Edition 11/33. Signed. 10 3/4 x 23 3/4 inches (Image) 15 x 29 inches (Sheet) Mazatl Supervivencia Linocut. 2016. Edition AP 03/10. Signed. 7 x 12 inches (Image) 13 x 17 1/2 inches (Sheet) N – My favorite! This is Mazatl. S – Mazatl is a Mexican artist. He is very politically active. He now thinks of himself as an anarchist, to some extent. He is very concerned about the environment, politics. He is part of a collective called the “Just Seeds Artist Cooperative”. These are all artists that are very politically (“politically” used in a very general way) approach to their image making and their commitment to the art they are making. This particular piece is from the extinction series, where he is addressing the loss of various species. This is “Extinction 15”, where he does a wonderful pairing of before and after of this particular creature. Most of his work is relief prints. This again, is a crab shell that becomes a skull. Referencing, again, what is probably going to happen whether it’s due to the environment or just passing of time. I think the inference is its days are numbered. He’s almost thoroughly politically in the images he chooses to do. He does enormous relief of things on walls, buildings, sheets, posters – anything that can put the word out about something he feels strongly about. Kelvin Mann Kelvin Mann Skein – Flock Woodblock with silkscreen and flock fibers. . 2018. Edition 24/50. Signed. 29 1/2 x 27 3/4 inches Kelvin Mann The Construction Game Etching. 2008. Edition 33/35. Signed. 9 1/2 x 16 inches (Plate) 16 x 21 1/2 inches (Sheet) N – Kelvin Mann S – Kelvin Mann is from Ireland. Again, I like this particular piece because it’s simple geometry, but within it the details show wonderful variety of the positions of geese as they are flying – even though they are constrained by the geometry he has chosen that pointed triangular form, working against the much more muted wood grain they are flying against. I like detail played against simple geometric form. The other image I picked took me back to my childhood, where we did a lot of model – making. You always broke the parts out of this sheet, which had been sort of attached. Then you would take the parts and assemble the model. I thought it was an ingenious idea for image – making. There are three or four in this series. This one is particularly clear, in terms of how it’s working. I love the idea. His imaginative choice of images (you’ll see if you go to the website) often talk about semi – political things, but more referencing things he recollects and integrates into his imagery. N – I don’t know if you like this part, Sam, but I really like on this image, the birds, in person. It was actually kind of hard to photograph because [they’re] so fuzzy. Each of the birds (it feels like velvet? I am not completely sure how it was done. It says “flock fibers” in the description)… have this kind of mirroring / glow effect that is not typical [in prints]. S- You’ve obviously looked at it more closely than I have. I have enjoyed it from a distance and so they look more precise if you get far enough away. That’s interesting – I didn’t even know that! Now I’ll go back to the print and look at it much more closely. N – It’s one of those you have to see in person, I guess. I enjoyed it. S – I hope you’ll visit the website that has each of these artists, shown in more depth. You’ll find other things about them that will interest you. These, I have just shared a few that interested me. [The artists] suffered the virus knocking out the audience for their particular show to come in and see the work in person. I hope to give them some attention this way. I encourage you to see the rest of their work online. N – Sam, just a question I have for you. What would you share with people about why they should continue to purchase art during this time with the virus? S – This time is particularly challenging for artists. Since they’ve chosen to be artists, in many cases, live near the edge in terms of where they’re next check is going to come from. In many cases, it is from the sale of their work and that means their rent and what they’re going to be able to eat, and so on. I think any support that you can give for their work will be hugely appreciated. At this time, there is no walk in trade because we aren’t allowed to move around, so it’s totally dependent on what one can see and support online. Anything you can do in that area is much appreciated. N – I agree wholeheartedly, albeit very biased. *Laughs* S – Fair enough. *Laughs* N – Thank you, Sam; and thank you, Seattle Artist League. S – Thank you for the opportunity to talk about those artists, briefly. See Nikki Barber’s original prints at MESH Fine Art, and check out her online classes. Nikki’s Destructive Printmaking class series at the League starts June 16. Printmaking is available in 2 week (mini) and 4 week (shortie) online class sections. Register today! Learn anywhere. Make anywhere. League online classes.