Occidental Unveils New Printmaking Exhibit, "Expanding the Matrix"

"Expanding the Matrix," a juried art exhibit featuring 15 printmaking artists from California and the West, will open Sept. 9 at Occidental College's Weingart Gallery.


The exhibit, which runs through Oct. 15, investigates alternative interpretations of the matrix -- the master plate printmakers use to compose their work.

In this exhibit, said Occidental art professor Linda Lyke, the matrix mixes with other art forms such as painting, photography and drawing to achieve the artist's intent. For example, artist Jeanne Lorenz, who has two pieces in the exhibit, makes use of vinyl records.

"There are many artists using printmaking today in very different ways," Lyke said.
"We selected the best work that used the idea of a matrix and expanded it to other strategies to create something wholly new."

The exhibit -- free and open to the public -- will be shown in the Weingart Gallery, located inside the Weingart Center for the Arts on the Occidental campus. The exhibit's opening reception will be held Thursday, September 9, from 6 - 9 p.m.

A wide variety of printmaking methods are displayed in the exhibit: etching (an intaglio technique where the ink is recessed into the matrix surface), lithography (favored by Dali and M.C. Escher), photogravure (the most sophisticated photomechanical process), and reduction linocut, to name a few.

Some of the artists don't define themselves just as printmakers, Lyke noted, but also as sculptors and painters. She and gallery manager Jason Manley chose the exhibit's 15 professional artists out of 45 who submitted their work. The pieces reflect well-established artists such as Lorenz, who will be a featured speaker in the College's art department this fall, as well as those in the early stages of their careers.

Two of the artists in "Expanding the Matrix" are Occidental alumni: Kenturah Davis '02 and Allison Park '08. Davis says printmaking is an important part of her practice as an artist (she also draws, paints and sews). One of her two pieces in the exhibit, "Mother Mother," uses vintage rubber stamp letters of the word "mother" to delineate black and white photographs of Davis's grandmother and great-grandmother.

"The way I work now," she says, "blurs the line between printmaking, painting and drawing."

Brennan Wheeler's art work in "Expanding the Matrix" features urban Los Angeles. Combining digital printing with silkscreen, his two prints use maps, a photo of people on a city street, and line drawings of pigeons from an old field notebook, among other elements. Brennan talked about his repeated use of the common pigeon. It's a bird that seems to thrive in urban environments, he said, and references "the inherent transient nature of Los Angeles."

Occidental's "Expanding the Matrix" printmaking exhibit will be open from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. on weekdays in the Weingart Gallery on the College campus, located at 1600 Campus Road, Los Angeles. Admission is free.

For a map and directions to the College, go to: http://www.oxy.edu/x119.xml