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Boston Printmakers Look Again

Dirk Hagner, Droneland Afternoon, 12 color relief reduction print and stencil on 528 canary yellow post-its, 72” x 63”

Contemporary Artists Answer the Call

By Elizabeth Michelman

“Look Again,” a hybrid summer-long exhibition of master prints paired with contemporary interpretations, is the happy outcome of a collaboration between the curators of the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury and the Boston Printmakers. To showcase highlights of the historical print collection in the Art Complex’s Carl A. Weyerhaeuser Library, curator Craig Bloodgood decided to seek contemporary responses to a selected group of works. The exhibition contains new works by 57 artists invited from the Boston Printmakers’ international membership to complement 31 originals through a contemporary lens. While all the works display a high level of craftsmanship, a few among them break away to forge their own path.

One has to laugh at Coco Berkman’s “Down in the Grey Zone,” a linoleum send-up of Warrington Colescott’s bitter expressionist etching, “Down in the Green Zone.” While Colescott’s piece, like the works of George Grosz, rails against privilege and decadence in a Baghdad officers’ club, Berkman restages this composition in a nursing home, using Colescott’s palette of orange, green and grey to satirize the pleasures of the elderly. For the cavorting and posturing army officers, Berkman substitutes a decrepit foursome playing canasta, a couple kibitzing in their wheelchairs, and a rouged granny in a walker toting the novel “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

The exaggerated boundaries separating objects in Armin Landeck’s “Engraver’s Tools” provided a way in for Mary Ince’s three-dimensional “box-book” entitled “Fractured Silence.” Ince has folded, connected, and manipulated handpulled etchings on which quotations are digitally printed, then bound them into tiny booklets with “silent” pages strategically left blank. The booklets stand partially open around a decorative folding structure best described as a cross between a cootie-catcher and a tesseract, into whose pockets the books slide and hide.

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