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I very much enjoyed this opportunity to act as juror for the Mid-American Print Council exhibition at Ohio Northern University’s Elzay Gallery. It is always refreshing to see what is happening in American printmaking and to observe how the technology and processes of printmaking are changing and evolving over time. I was nice to see so many works from accomplished and experienced printmakers, the range of processes and styles of image making show the current diversity in the printmaking community. Printmaking is going through a period of exciting change due to the influx of digital imaging and the ease of postmodern appropriation and research afforded by the Internet. It was refreshing to see that drawing and traditional forms of printmaking were still well represented in work submitted for the exhibition.
I was very impressed with the quality of drawing and use of process that was evident in so many of the submissions. I have to speak to my own preference for drawing in printmaking. I do like digital and photographic printmaking and I do a fair bit of those forms of printmaking myself but
I will always have a soft spot in my heart for good drawing and for the use of layered color. This was a difficult job for me as juror, as there were many excellent examples of contemporary printmaking to choose from for inclusion in the exhibition and for the juror’s awards. I am a traditionalist when it comes to viewing art, I look for a blending of form and content that is evocative and compelling.
I asked myself a number of questions as I looked at each work; did the work have visual impact, was the image well composed and well designed? What was the work about, did the artist seem to have a clear sense of what they were communicating and what the work was expressing? I am happy to say that many images in this exhibition could have been Best of Show or received recognition with a juror’s award. It was hard to choose from so many excellent prints.
I would like to thank Professor Melissa Eddings for her hard work in organizing the exhibition and arranging for the digital viewing of the images for me to do my part as juror. I was a bit surprised to see that I did not recognize any particular artists, by the work presented to me. All of the works were given a number only. There were a few images that did have a quality of recognizable style but I was not sure if any of the works were by a particular artist. I was impressed with the quality of the submissions and I wish that there had been a larger gallery space to hang more of the prints submitted.
The Elzay Gallery is a very elegant and intimate exhibition space. I am sure the work will look very good hanging together, representing some of the best printmaking in the Midwest. I would like to commend and thank the artists for participating in this exhibition. The Mid American Print Council should be justly proud of its member’s abilities and accomplishments in printmaking.
image: Another Side of Truth, Janet Ballweg
Polymer Intaglio, 7 3/8" x 9 78"
Janet is a professor of art and head of the printmaking program at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. She is an internationally exhibiting artist. Her most recent body of work casts a different light on domestic spaces, introducing tension and dichotomy to ordinary spaces charged with memory and meaning.
Education: MFA in printmaking, University of Illinois in Champagne-Urbana.