Pittsburgh with students and Aaron Coleman…

Friday December 8th, my students and I met Aaron in Pittsburgh. We packed a lot in before attending the opening reception to the PRINTWORK 2017 exhibition and Aaron’s solo show.

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We started the day seeing some great Wonder Woman original artwork at the Toonseum downtown.

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There is something magical about seeing older original art for comics…I love seeing the white out, hand written notes, and copy paper pasted onto a drawing, its like revealing the evolution of the work…I never get tired of it…

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Our next stop was SPACE a few blocks away…

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There was a painting show titled “The Long Run” up at the time…while most of the work was really great, we were especially lucky to see these paintings by Devan Shimoyama. We were all instantly obsessed with this work, amazing to see in person.

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Wood Street Galleries was next…there we saw an exhibition titled “Macular”…the work was an onslaught to your senses…hard to photograph, but AMAZING to experience…

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Final stop at one of my favorite places in Pittsburgh, The Copacetic Comics Company…

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Then it was on to Artists Image Resource to see the PRINTWORK 2017 show…I was lucky enough to jury the exhibition this year…which was a challenging, but rewarding experience…

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There was a great turn out for the opening reception, and I was so pleased with the way the show looked as a whole, everyone at AIR did a great job installing the work…this exhibition featured some really amazing prints by some very accomplished artists…as I was jurying the applicants, I quickly realized that this PRINTWORK show was going to be more political than in year’s past…which gave the exhibition a specific thematic direction, but it also meant that I had to reject A LOT of amazing printmakers because their work didn’t fit into the show.

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Luckily, last year’s first place award winner Aaron Coleman’s work is also politically motivated…so the two exhibitions fit well together…his show featured recent prints and mixed media paintings, Aaron also created a large scale wall painting behind some of his work…

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As always, amazing work from Aaron…

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A great way to end a really fulfilling day…to end this post, I am attaching my juror’s statement for PRINTWORK 2017…

Juror’s Statement

PRINTWORK 2017

Being the juror of this exhibition was an exhilarating experience. As a printmaker myself, it is encouraging to see an abundance of artists making engaging and beautiful work.

As I was reviewing the submissions, it quickly became clear that this exhibition was going to have a political lens to it. I believe this kind of show makes sense at this time and in this place. Politically engaged artists have recently found a new interest in utilizing the democratic nature of print to disseminate their message, and Artists Image Resource has been unafraid to support politically charged artists speaking to a number of issues for years.

This exhibition showcases artists whose work not only has a strong message, but that is visually engaging as well. These artists found beautiful and surprising ways to talk about difficult topics. They make work that goes beyond caricatures and political cartoons and challenges our assumptions about many current issues like housing, body image, human rights, animal rights, police brutality, freedom of speech, immigration, and the environment. Although I believe that the act of creating art is a political one, the artists in this exhibition have chosen to make direct social and political statements. At a time when saying anything slightly controversial can unleash a flood of internet trolls and harassment, making political artwork is a courageous act. I am inspired by the confidence and fearlessness these artists display.

I would like to close by saying thank you. Thank you to everyone at Artists Image Resource for all their hard work to make this exhibition happen. I also would like to say thank you to all the artists involved in this show, thank you for having the drive and the courage to speak up about important topics that make many uncomfortable or outright ignore.

Joseph Lupo

 

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