CSULB artists prove good ‘Under Pressure’

This year’s holiday art sale offers something extra with its annual assortment of great art.

Kimiko Miyoshi, printmaking professor at Cal State Long Beach, employed the help of the printmaking department to bring together a limited edition portfolio series called “Under Pressure.”

The most interesting part of the project is its ability to include faculty and students, who create something that benefits the entire department. Miyoshi said the process began with five respected faculty-artists: Bryan Crocket, Fran Siegel, Christopher Miles, Linda Day and Marie Thibeault.

These artists were asked to each design an original print, which would then be made into an edition by the printmaking BFA and MFA students, creating the thirty portfolios that make up “Under Pressure.”

All the proceeds from the portfolios’ sales will be used to send the participating student printmakers to next year’s Annual Southern Graphics International Printmaking Conference in New Orleans. It’s an event that is renowned as one of the world’s greatest in the printmaking community. Thus, “Under Pressure” succeeds in its ability to engage viewers with great prints and enrich participating CSULB students’ experience.

The project’s collaborative design is what inspired its namesake. Specifically, the name gives homage to a famous collaboration that was a group favorite: Queen and David Bowie’s hit single, “Under Pressure.” But closer to home, the name also alludes to the pressure inherent in printmaking. The entire process of collaboration brings about a pressure between members.

The result is a pleasure. Crocket, for instance, is the associate professor of the sculpture department, so seeing him print instead of sculpt is interesting.

Crocket includes his print “Creep,” which first reads as an expressive and intuitive composition of sepia tones with dashes of more saturated color. However, the closer you get the more the tones reveal intricate detail, such as assorted contour line constructions and circle fields. In regards to its creator it has an intriguing lack of sculptural elements, which shows diversity. This edition was printed by Alex Fridrich, BFA printmaking, through lithography, silkscreen, inkless embossment and flock on pescia white paper.

Siegel includes Tracks for Overland 10, a print that combines a blueprint-like schematic view with selective embossment. It is another print with unexpected elements, as it seems to elaborate on her previous work but in a more photographic style. The additional texture also adds complexity to the print’s read and technical understanding.

Miles included his print, “Untitled (slabs).” It displays his aptitude for successfully employing experimentation within his work. The composition is made up of a variety of marks and textures from inking various objects, joined together by a strong color scheme.

Day includes “Old Dehli, India,” a print that can be noted for its effective use of subtlety. The relation between the print’s background ink to its paper color, varying only in small degrees, is particularly impressive. Expressive marks make up the foreground to create an organic abstract, accentuated through subtle value shifts.

“Export” by Marie Thibeault is one of the most striking pieces. The print is composed through a strong color contrast of green and orange. The underlying shapes read like a constructivist painting, activated through overlying line drawings. The contrast between styles and colors gives the print an attractive energy and sense of rhythm.

The weekly student art galleries run Monday through Thursday from noon to 5 p.m. between the FA2 and FA3 buildings.

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