February 10, 2009

Ithaca Arts Update: Pretty Paper

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Sometimes it’s a little bit sad to come back to Ithaca from NYC and realize that the Johnson is our one venue to see non-student-produced art. And close to our heart as it is, the Johnson doesn’t have the same allure as discovering small galleries in the big city. That same small-show magic, however, is currently available in Ithaca at the Ithaca Ink Shop Printmaking Center at 330 E. State St., which is exhibiting until Feb. 28 a collaborative show of prints by artists from The Olive Branch Press and Vandeb Editions in New York City. Founded in 2000 by a group of artists looking to promote printmaking in the Ithaca area, the Shop functions as a gallery as well as a professional print shop. The prints being exhibited there were all commissioned by third parties as part of the publishing sector of these print shops.
Included in these works is a single-edition book by Cornell’s art department chair, Buzz Spector. Spector’s works, which address issues like literacy and archiving, frequently take the form of actual books, such as a human-scale, half-circle installation of Cornell writers’ works containing hundreds of texts. Spector’s contribution to the collaborative show between Vandeb Editions and Olive Branch Press is a work called Between the Sheets, a single book bound in the Japanese style with the edge of each page bound to the next, its content is revealed only when one looks in between the leafs. No doubt, the title suggests that there is further meaning to the piece than “reading between the lines.”
Another artist whose work is exhibited is Mark Mullin, the creator of the print Growing Time. Mullin has suggested in his print bio that his work straddles a line between abstraction and representation, which is clear in his dreamy, richly textured prints. Sarah Carpenter ’10, a printmaking major and current intern at the Ink Shop, said about Mullin’s work, “Mullin makes technically complex prints that are visually very ambiguous — [considering] ‘A Growing Time,’ each of us at the shop had our own [distinct] ideas about it. I thought it was figurative, someone else thought [it was] an image of a factory, someone else thought [of] a deep space, someone else shallow space, etc …