Artists have been making prints for 500 years or more, so it’s understandable if we have long-held perceptions about how it’s supposed to be done.
A new exhibition at the Portland Public Library attempts to shatter those perceptions and advance our thinking.
“Prints: Breaking Boundaries” includes the work of 35 Maine artists who employ techniques and materials that evolve fine-art printmaking. On view through Feb. 23, it includes unique prints on non-traditional surfaces.
The show highlights work being done in Maine that includes drawing, painting, monotype printing, encaustic and digital manipulation, as well as multiple layers of collaged, stitched and folded paper.
Some of the prints create objects that are three-dimensional, and more reminiscent of a sculpture than a print.
The exhibition is sponsored by the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport. This is the second year that CMCA and its curator emeritus, Bruce Brown, have collaborated with the library for a winter show. Brown, who lives in Portland, assembled a Maine photography show for CMCA at the library last year.
Suzette McAvoy, CMCA’s executive director, said the show gives the midcoast arts center an opportunity to show work in Maine’s largest city at a time when its galleries are seasonally closed.
“Being at the library offers us the opportunity to reach a broader audience and to keep CMCA’s presence in the state active during the period when our galleries in Rockport are closed for the winter season,” she said. “It’s been a great experience for us, as I hope it has for the library, and we look forward to continuing the relationship in future years.”
The participating artists represent 18 Maine communities in the show, from York to Farmington and Orono.
Three participating artists who embody change — Karen Adrienne, Damir Porobic and Adrienne Herman — will participate in a panel discussion, “The Changing Nature of Printmaking Today,” at 2 p.m. Jan. 19 at Rines Auditorium at the library.
All work with traditional materials, but in new ways.
Porobic teaches printmaking and digital arts at the University of Southern Maine, and Herman teaches at Maine College of Art.
Adrienne teaches printmaking at the University of Maine-Augusta, and is founder and director of Circling in the Square Fine Art Press in Gardiner. She makes multiple prints using a monotype process that she began developing about a year ago.
“It offers a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with artists I already know and see some of their new work, and also meet new artists and see what they are doing and try to have a conversation about what printmaking is like and how they are using it in their work,” said Adrienne.
“I see printmaking as a culmination of many insights and techniques,” she said. “I have a great respect for traditional printmaking, but contemporary artists use whatever means they need to communicate what they want to communicate.”
Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or: