The Northampton Arts Council is a city board and a non-profit organization whose goal is to support and promote the arts in Northampton. Originally created as a Local Arts Lottery Council, it began its work by administering a grants program in which proceeds from a state lottery are distributed to local artists, arts groups, and public schools.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Zea Mays Biennial opens October 4 at A.P.E.

Image by Sally Clegg

Zea Mays Printmaking Biennial

Working Title: Telephone Exhibition
Exhibition Title: The Unity of Opposites

Exhibition Dates: October 5-30, 2016
Reception: Friday, October 14, 2016, 5-8 PM

A.P.E. Ltd. Gallery
126 Main Street
Northampton, MA 01060

Remember playing the game Telephone when you were young? One person whispers a statement to the person sitting next to them, then that person whispers it to their neighbor and on and on around the circle with the last person speaking the now radically changed statement aloud.

Our exhibition is a visual riff on this childhood game, exposing real world issues about communication and interpretation in our contemporary culture.

Historically, printmaking evolved as a means of communication. Early woodblock prints were created as a way to disseminate both religious and secular information. Guttenberg’s invention of moveable type ushered in the Protestant reformation in Europe and the first newspapers. Artists were able to reproduce images from paintings and distribute them to a wide audience. Eventually etchings, engravings, woodcuts were considered unique works of art and not merely reproductions. Lithography, serigraphy, photographic printmaking enlarged the possibilities within the medium and introduced new ways to create accessible art. Because of this accessibility, printmaking is often referred to as the democratic art medium.

How the exhibition/project works:

This project is a collaboration between two printmaking studios, Zea Mays Printmaking (Florence, MA) and Peregrine Press (Portland, ME) and begins with one artist from each studio responding to a secret verbal prompt. These two beginning artists will create a print that is a visual interpretation of the verbal prompt. The beginning artists will have one month to make a print and photograph it and send a jpeg of the image to the exhibition organizers. These images will be sent to 4 new artists who will have one month to respond to the images they received with a new print. They will send a jpeg of their creation back to the exhibition organizers who will pass them along to 8 new artists. This will continue until 75 artists have participated over the course of five months.

The final prints will be exhibited at A.P.E. Gallery, Northampton, MA in October 2016 and move to the Institute of Contemporary Art Gallery at Maine College of Art Gallery, Portland, ME in February 2017.

After the prints are made, the project will move into the digital realm of Instagram. We will post the images of prints created on the Zea Mays Printmaking website and the Zea Mays Printmaking Intstagram feed and invite the public and invited printmaking professors and students to respond to each image, reinterpreting it and posting their own visual interpretations on Instagram. In this way, the Telephone game, which we initiated as ink on paper will transform into pixels on the information super highway, accessible to all who have access to a smart phone. Through this technological transformation we will be able to witness the acceleration and transformation of communication in our digital age. A slideshow loop of the Instagram feed will be included in the Portland, ME component of the exhibition. The Instagram component will end on March 31, 2017.

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