One print at a time


Forty-four of about 200 print art pieces were selected and are now hanging in the Foster Art Gallery as part of their latest exhibit, “States of the State: A Survey of American Printmaking by Drive BY Press.” The exhibit will be at UW-Eau Claire until Nov. 27.

Art Gallery Director Tom Wagener said it took about four hours for himself and a few others to hand-select all of the pieces. The idea for the exhibit began when Joseph Velasquez, a UW-Stout professor, told Wagener about a project he had been affiliated with.

Velasquez is part of a collective called Drive BY Press, an organization that for the past nine years has traveled to hundreds of different colleges speaking about print art. During this time, he amassed a collection of over 200 works.

“They had a project where they basically toured the United States, primarily university printmaking departments, and they, along with the faculty and some students, printed works of art,” Wagener said. “So Joseph Velasquez and this Drive BY Press have a huge collection that they’ve added up over the years.”

Junior Victoria Zelinski said she knew about the exhibit because she walks past the gallery every day and it’s also required of her as an art student to attend every gallery opening.

Even though print isn’t her favorite type of art, she said it was still a fun exhibit and there was a lot of diversity within the collection.

Wagener said the group that decided what pieces made it into the exhibit thought intaglios and lithographs were the best for the gallery. He said these two types of art were chosen specifically because it matched what the students in the art department were learning and seeing.

“It was highly varying different types of art, like different types of style in each one,” Zelinski said. “I like the more surreal prints and lithographs. There were some more patterned ones and some simplistic designs. It just varied so much throughout the whole show. There was a whole range of different artists, that was the appeal.”

Zelinski said bringing in a range of different artists’ works isn’t always readily available, so others should jump at the opportunity to come see them.

“I think it’s pretty neat,” Wagener said. “There’s quite a variety and I think students should be able to find something in there they are interested in. I think there’s something for everyone there.”

He said he hopes people who do choose to view the exhibit understand how much time artists put into making these pieces. Print art is one of the more difficult types of art production and very technical, whether it be through making the stones the prints are produced on or making the prints themselves, he said.

“When (people) come to a show like this, there are so many different varieties that there’s going to be works that you really hate and works that you really warm up to,” Wagener said. “What we are trying to do is make you think about what’s important to you in an aesthetic sense.”