Thirty nine diverse prints are featured in College of Eastern Utah’s Gallery East print making exhibit on display through December 15 in the Old Student Activity Center.
Newly named gallery director, Robert De Groff, assembled the exhibit from his personal collection of prints gathered from trade portfolios or print exchanges. He also included a section of nine prints reflecting his work from throughout his career.
Trade portfolios or print exchanges are common in the art community, De Groff explained. About 30 artists get together or are invited to exchange prints with other artists. Sometimes a theme of the trade portfolios is included, but mostly it is an exchange of art prints between artists.
A lot of the work De Groff collected was with other graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin. One of his favorite prints is from an instructor at UT Austin, Bob Anderson titled Just About Three Blocks Away. It is a lithograph that is amazing with incredibly fine details, ranges and values.
He says that his collection is from five trade portfolios and are the best work included in his collection. Thus he titled the exhibit “Keepers.”
“In any collection, one gets some pretty terrible pieces, the real stinkers; 20 or so pretty good pieces; and five keepers. The five pieces are the ones that made it, they are the ones that you say ‘wow’ when you see them. They make the whole trade worth while,” De Groff said.
The CEU exhibit is made up of the cream of the crop of work created by artists from throughout the United States and two foreign countries. “It’s reflects a great variety of all types of printmaking,” De Groff said.
The printmaking techniques include lithography, relief including wood cuts and linoleum cuts; silk screen, etching, engraving and intaglio.
De Groff prefers his mezzotint process in his prints on display. This process is a half tone printmaking invented in the 17th century. There is nothing that beats the velvet tones of mezzotint, he says, one can see texture and value. It is impossible to reproduce, lines have dimensions, are more sculptural and physical.
Gallery East is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. An opening reception featuring some of the artists from Utah State University and Brigham Young University will be November 18 from 6-9 p.m. The exhibit is free and open to the public.