The New York State Council on the Arts provided WNYBAC with a grant in 2013 to facilitate “5 x 12” – a series of 5 exhibitions over the course of 12 months. In addition to the 5 solo shows for New York State-based cultural workers, the Book Arts Center hosted five free hands-on workshops correspondent with each show and featuring the artist. Each artist was charged with making a print or piece that measured 5″ x 12″ that was collected in a limited-edition portfolio at the conclusion of the series.
The 5 x 12 series began on March 8th and continued throughout 2013; it featured Chris Fritton, Kate Parzych, Kasia Keeley, Tate Shaw, and Tom Rooney. See artists’ bios and work samples below.
Chris Fritton – The Baltimore Catechism
March 8th – April 12th, 2013; Opening March 15th
Chris Fritton is the Studio Director at the Western New York Book Arts Center. He holds a BA in Philosophy (1998), a BA in Poetics (2000), and a BA in Art History (2010) from SUNY at Buffalo, as well as an MA in Poetics from the University of Maine at Orono (2005). A poet, printer, and fine artist, Fritton has decades of experience writing and making his own books, in addition to collaborative efforts with other writers and artists. He currently oversees the studio space at WNYBAC, works as an in-house printer/designer for Mohawk Press, and teaches letterpress and printmaking.
The Baltimore Catechism is an unintentional, imaginary revision of A Catechism of Christian Doctrine, Prepared and Enjoined by Order of The Third Plenary Council of Baltimore (1885) wherein the authors posit the most fundamental and absurd physical and metaphysical questions, and postulate ever more fundamental and absurd answers. Originally intended as just an artist’s book, the project quickly took on a much wider scope, begetting large-scale woodcuts and accompanying prints, a performance component, and hand-set letterpress posters and broadsides. This exhibition will run from March 8th-April 12th. The Opening Reception, as well as an artist’s talk and abridged reading will take place March 15th, 6-9pm.
Kate Stapleton Parzych
April 19th – May 25th, 2013
Kate Stapleton Parzych is a visual artist and arts educator working indigital and darkroom photography, using many of her images for bookmaking. She is an adjunct professor at Daemen College and D’Youville College, has taught at University at Buffalo where she received her MFA, and conducts workshops at WNYBAC and CEPA. Parzych was a participant in the NYFA MARK 10 Program, and recent shows include the Flux Gallery at CEPA in 2012 as a Members’ Exhibition “Best of Show” recipient and Hallwalls recent Vascular Modes.
During her residency, Kate will experiment with various papers as a substrate for cyanotypes, a process that is an amalgam of photo-based (light sensitive) materials and printmaking. She will be recording text, images, and objects onto paper as a documentation of transformation.
Tom Rooney – Natural Selections:
Unsung Birds and Secondhand Nature
July 12th – August 10th, 2013
Tom Rooney is a printmaker and illustrator living in Buffalo, NY. He holds a BFA in printmaking from the State University College at Buffalo, NY and an MFA in printmaking from Drake University. From 1997 to 2011 he was the owner and operator of Pavlov’s Togs, a popular retail store and screen printing studio located in the heart of Buffalo’s Elmwood Village. The shop featured clothing and other items printed with his designs. He closed the store to concentrate on his personal work, focusing on relief printing, watercolor painting and ink drawing. He has christened this recent venture Junco Press, a new name for his collective creative work.
Natural Selections is a collection of block prints and mixed-media paintings inspired by the artist’s lifelong love of, and fascination with, the web of nature that manages to exist, even thrive, in our modern world. Unsung Birds is a series of prints celebrating common bird species that often get overlooked despite their unique beauty. Secondhand Nature is a series of prints and paintings that reinterpret found objects inspired or informed by the natural world.
Kasia Keeley is an artist who focuses in print, handmade paper, and book arts. She received her BFA in Printmaking from SUNY at Buffalo and, in addition to her work in silkscreen printing and book arts, she has been studying the process of making paper directly from plants for the last several years. She has taught a number of paper-making workshops with WNYBAC and is currently working in the Hudson Valley at the Women’s Studio Workshop. There, she teaches for the WSW Art-in-Education program and is working with them to grow their Art Farm – a garden space in which they produce the fibers they use for papermaking.
Over the last few years, she has been making work which records times of day, places, and seasons through the documentation of shadows or light cast onto different surfaces. Although a light source such as the sun or a street lamp may be calculable or repetitious, there are always variables such as a growth of trees casting shadows or a shift in perspective. This reveals that no moment or image is ever exactly the same as any other despite the cyclical patterns of nature. Through silkscreen prints, handmade paper, and larger installations, her work calls to mind these soft, subtle moments in our lives that are at once ubiquitous and unique.
September 27th – November 2nd, 2013
Tate Shaw is Director of the Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, New York, a nonprofit organization supporting photography and books with an accredited MFA program in association with The College at Brockport, SUNY. Shaw has contributed writings to the Journal of Artists’ Books (JAB), and Aperture’s The Photobook Review, amongst other publications. He routinely organizes public events including VSW’s monthly Visual Book Club and bi-annual Photo-Bookworks Symposium as well as exhibitions at such institutions as The Center for Book Arts, New York. He is co-publisher of Preacher’s Biscuit Books and his own work is held in many private and public collections of artists’ books internationally. Shaw has publicly performed his books nationally at institutions and gatherings like the Minnesota Center for the Book, Minneapolis; The Hybrid Book in Philadelphia; Action/Interaction at The Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts; and he has a forthcoming multi-media reading at The Western New York Book Art Center, Buffalo, NY in the fall of 2013.
The Ground is an essay book including photographs made between 2010 and 2012 in a geothermal area of Iceland and at hydrofracking sites in Tioga County, Pennsylvania, as well as writing that documents failures both personal and historical to access the ground as a source of energy and to grasp its power. Images from The Ground are failures in their own right made to show something of the futility of trying to fix an image on a ground in any permanent way. The photographs were printed with an inkjet printer on a heavy printmaking paper then water was applied to wash out areas of the ink. The results are then digitally scanned to make a new image. Water is a medium to access the core subject, as in the energy mining processes depicted. A geothermal power plant has boreholes drilled deep into the ground that converts steam under enormous pressure into energy. For fracking over ten thousand gallons of chemicals is mixed with over a million gallons of water and a heavy amount of sand is injected underground to release natural gas deposits.