Link to reproductions
Link to essay by Dianne Scoles
Joyce H. Admason
John K. Esler
ABOVE: Printmakers at the School of Art in the 1950's. Printmaking in the 1950's: An Intimate view of student prints at the School of Art 1950-59
25 November 2004 to 14 January 2005. Curated and organized by Ted Howorth, Bill Pura and Marim Daien Zipursky for Gallery One One One.
The public was invited to attend a symposium on the ideas, techniques and imagery in prints from the 1950s on Thursday, 25 November 2004 at 2 PM at Gallery One One One. An opening reception followed the symposium at 4 PM.
This exhibition's 59 prints are significant because they represent the early work of a number young artists who studied at the (now "University of Manitoba" formerly "Winnipeg") School of Art in the 1950's: as such they create an interesting and provocative portrait of artistic ideas that were current in post-war Canada.
The imagery in these prints is remarkably broad, including intimate portraits and energetic abstractions as well as bold visions of the prairie landscape. Their technical explorations are also comprehensive, including etchings, lithographs, and relief prints. Many use some of the most sophisticated print processes possible at the time.
Ivan Eyre, Don Reichert, Tony Tascona, Bruce Head, Winston Leathers, Takao Tanabe and many other well-known artists were included in the exhibition. With these early works it is possible to see some of the ideas that were to be developed in later images by these artists.
The symposium was organized to discuss the prints more completely, to meet some of the artists and to create an opportunity to explore the world of the visual arts in Winnipeg from the 1950's.
ABOVE: Printmakers meet at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in 2004. Printmaking in the 1950's
(the following introduction is by Bill Pura and Ted Howorth)
These prints represent only a small portion of the archives of the Printmaking area in the School of Art. In organizing and cataloguing the collection it became apparent that this early work was particularly interesting as a glimpse of artistic practice in Canada. The School of Art, which had just joined the University of Manitoba in 1950, was one of the major Canadian educational institutions of the time and the list of students who graduated from its program reads like a who's who of the arts in the country.
This collection, therefore, forms an archive of artistic thinking at a very volatile time in Canada, with postwar influences of various kinds arriving from Europe as well as from United States. In looking at these student works one can see the beginning of ideas, of styles and ways of working that were to reach full flower in later years. As well, the range of imagery from artist to artist or indeed with a single artist's work is very provocative.
The use of the figure, of the landscape and finally the latest experiments in abstraction all play important roles in the imagery of the prints. It is also apparent that there is a high level of sophistication in the use of such imagery. It particular, the latest explorations in abstraction during the postwar years seemed to have been absorbed quickly and to be understood at the deepest level.
The collection is also a very complete view of the issues that were considered important within the printmaking discipline. As printmaking is a process where technology meets imagery, many of the latest innovations from that period are found in the prints. The use of multiple plates for colour work, viscosity rolls for colour layering, aggressive use of texture through soft ground, aquatint for large areas of tonality, and a variety of deep etch techniques to produce sculptural effects, all indicate a remarkable talent and dedication by these young artists. It also indicates the high quality of the teaching that was going on in the School of Art.
The prints in our collection form only a small part of the activities of these young artists from the 1950's and yet the fact that the collection is remarkably complete gives us at least a glimpse of some of those activities. How these prints relate to other works by these artists is yet to be explored, but this collection will allow the viewer to sense some the ideas that were so important to Canadians over 50 years ago.
This exhibition's CD-ROM publication includes information about other Gallery One One One projects. Gallery One One One, School of Art, Main Floor, FitzGerald Building, University of Manitoba Fort Garry campus, Winnipeg, MB, CANADA R3T 2N2 TEL:204 474-9322 FAX:474-7605
For information please contact Robert Epp