20 Years of Flatbed Press

The Austin Museum of Art is currently exhibiting Advancing Tradition: 20 Years of Printmaking at Flatbed Press. The show features a wide selection of work from the Flatbed Press archives. It’s no small feat for a private publisher to survive the ups and downs of two decades so it’s nice to see their accomplishment recapped for public viewing.

The collaborative nature of the printing process dictates that the publisher/printers’ tastes will inevitably have some influence on the work produced. When viewing a survey like this one, it’s hard not to look for that common thread- a system that underlies the seemingly random. If I had to generalize about a “Flatbed aesthetic,” I’d say the works skew toward warm, earthy tones and texture is a dominant component of many of these prints- washes and controlled foul-biting are regularly present. While the exhibition features a huge range of works, large-scale etchings and reliefs are in ample supply and I detect some preoccupation with expressive figuration. Of course, with so many artists involved there are exceptions to these generalities but you can definitely sense an unseen hand, however subtle, tying the work together.

Look for a Printeresting interview with Flatbed Press founders Katherine Brimberry and Mark Smith in the next few days. It’ll include a few more pictures.

Jack Hanley, Plague Doctor, Color Intaglio, 1990.

Celia Munoz, Sweet Nothings, Serigraph & Relief, 2000.

Ken Hale, Locomotive, Color Aquatint & Soft-ground Etching, 2008.

Many of the printworks were accompanied by examples of artists’ work in other media- painting and/or sculpture.

Michael Ray Charles, White Power (this should be spelled backwards), Etching, Aquatint, Hand-coloring and Embossing, 1994.

Mary F. McCleary, Fallen, Fallen Light Renew, Polymer Direct Gravure, 2005.

Etching and painting by Melissa Miller.

Teresa Gómez Martorell, Narcissus, Intaglio Relief, 2007.

Cynthia Camlin, Untitled, Lithography, 2005.

Anne Conner, Brentwood (Blue), Color Woodcut, 2010.

Liliana Porter, Situation with Dog, Polymer photogravure with Chine Collé & Plastic, 2010.

Tow works by Robert Levers.


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Categories: Exhibitions


3 Responses to “20 Years of Flatbed Press”

  1. Ward Walker, Jr. says:

    Thank you, Kathy, Mark, and (of course) Jerry, for Flatbed Press. Printmaking, especially in Central Texas, would not be as strong without the 20 year presence of Flatbed. While I agree “…you can definitely sense an unseen hand, however subtle, tying the work together,” I also believe one of Flatbed’s strengths is Kathy’s, Mark’s, and Jerry’s ability to allow each individual artist to express his/her own “message” through Printmaking. I will be forever grateful for the 5 years I was allowed to use the old Flatbed Press facilities to teach my ACC Printmaking classes before we were able to build a printshop in the basement of Rio Grande Campus.

  2. […] Interview: Flatbed Press Posted by Jason Urban on December 21st, 2010 | One comment The following is a brief interview with Katherine Brimberry and Mark Smith, founders of Flatbed Press in Austin, TX. The interview is accompanied by Peggy Tenison’s photographs of Advancing Tradition: 20 Years of Printmaking at Flatbed Press, currently on view at the Austin Museum of Art. Here’s a link to the Printeresting post about the exhibition. […]

  3. I am looking for an old hand press for mono prints.. can’t seem to find them..?? what do we actually call them? flatbed hand press..? what kind do you have? manufactured by..??
    thanks Jeffrey