PUSH Print: A new book on contemporary printmaking

The art of printmaking is not for wimps.” —Jamie & Keith Berger

Behold! Lark Books (an imprint of Sterling Publishing) has recently released the latest in their craft books series: PUSH Print, a “curated” collection of contemporary prints by an international array of artists (including Printeresting’s own Jason Urban and Amze Emmons). The Cranky Pressman (brothers Jamie and Keith Berger, of Salem, Ohio) selected thirty-one artists they’ve been keeping an eye on, and while not every piece in this petite 178-page book could stand on its own, the selection as a whole is strong, with a clear sense of dialogue between the works. The Berger brothers’ aesthetic taste is revealed by the number of figurative prints included, most of which are also linked by a strong sense of experimentation, confidence in craft, and a healthy dose of the absurd. As is rare in print collection publications, process photographs are quite minimal (Helen Murgatroyd‘s clever “Human Printing Press” being a notable exception), and the book’s design generously offers two-thirds of each page to the artwork itself.

Unfortunately it is the book’s design, and the interior type layout in particular, that leaves much to be desired. As is often the issue with publishers’ “series” books, PUSH Print is meant to fit into a cross-genre design mold that does not quite stand up to repeated viewings, and actually does a disservice to the artists represented within. A heavy black band spans the lower one-third of each page, vying with the artwork for visual dominance, and unnecessarily elongating starkly semi-illegible white and red type (type which actually holds interesting content—background and process Q&A’s with the artists). And, for a book about printmakers, directed at other printmakers, the heavy, glossy paper stock is a sadly misguided choice.

However, despite frustrations with the book’s design, such flaws are easily overlooked within this complex collection of artists and artworks. It’s quite an exciting array, and always a pleasure to be newly introduced to a seasoned printmaker’s favorite peers. I’ve included a handful of my favorite contributors to PUSH Print, below:

Roman Klonek [Germany], High Voltage (2010), wood engraving; oil-based relief ink; Tupa Bristolkarton, 26 x 19 in.

 “Making a print is a negotiation between ideas and technology.” —Michael Krueger

PUSH Print‘s table of contents.

PUSH Print includes bios of the contributing artists in the back.

Michael Krueger [USA], When I Paint My Masterpiece, 2011, letterpress, 15 x 11 in.

Giulia Zaniol [United Kingdom], My Grandma’s Kitchen, 2011, etching; oil-based Charbonnel ink; Maya paper, 16 1/8 x 11 5/8 in.

Brian Anderson [USA], Blessed Be Thy Lounger, 2010, woodcut on concrete with rebar; oil-based relief ink with additives; hand-mixed concrete, 24 x 21 1/2 in.

Katsutoshi Yuasa [Japan], Pseudo Mythology #2, 2011, woodcut; oil-based lithography ink with color pigment; Torinoko washi paper, 95 11/16 x 143 13/16 in.

Amze Emmons [USA], Augmented Reality, 2010, intaglio wiped à la poupée with surface roll; oil-based etching and lithography ink, 18 x 24 in.

Jason Urban [USA], Sunrise Sticks, 2009, digital output; Somerset Velvet paper on poplar, each piece 72 x 2 in.

Helen Murgatroyd [United Kingdom], Banana, Blue Pear, Orange, and Grapes, 2010, hand-drawn monoprint; water-based drawing ink and gouache, 17 11/16 x 12 9/16 in.

Conrad Botes [South Africa], Foreign Party, 2005, lithograph, 42 x 29 1/2 in.

Valerie Wallace [USA], Jim Henson, 2010, linocut; oil-based ink, 28 x 22 in.

Brian Gonzales [USA], Print Altar, 2010, letterpress; rubber-based letterpress ink; Rives BFK Heavyweight Buff, 30 x 25 x 3 3/4 in.



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