ARTIST: Pepón Osorio
You’re Never Ready, 2009,
Inkjet print on confetti, MDF support,
Courtesy of the artist
You’re Never Ready is a bed of confetti on which the artist printed an enlarged image of an X-ray of his mother’s head which, ghost-like, seems to glow with an ethereal inner light. Using his own story as a means of acknowledging our inability to be fully prepared for the inevitable loss of loved ones, Osorio fuses a celebration of his mother’s life with a potent reminder of her mortality.
ARTIST: Francesc Ruiz
Installation view of Francesc Ruiz, “Newsstand,” 2010,
Wooden structure, printed magazines and newspapers,
Installation view at Temple Gallery, Tyler School of Art, Temple University as a part of Philagrafika 2010; Philadelphia, PA
Photo: Image courtesy of the artist.
ARTIST: Óscar Muñoz
Installation shot of Narcisos (Narcissi) , by Óscar Muñoz (Colombian, born 1951)
1999. Suite of nine works; charcoal powder on Plexiglas,
Courtesy of the artist and Sicardi Gallery,
Photo by Constance Mensh, Courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art
Showcasing 300 international artists at some 80 venues, Philagrafika 2010 — the first of what's hoped to be a new triennial in Philadelphia — bills itself as the largest art festival in the United States, and the largest in the world devoted to graphic arts. Conceived by Colombian artist Jose Roca, who lived in Philadelphia a few years ago while on fellowship at the Institute of Contemporary Art, the event is devoted to exploring the dynamic, and often unexpected, role of printmaking in contemporary art. Virtually every conceivable use of print shows up: from illustration to bookmaking, from woodcut to video, from sculptor to fabric.
The 100 works featured in "Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations [Of A Crazy World]" are some of the more traditional. Washed in lemon yellows and hyacinth lavenders, these gouaches and colored pencil drawings depict a cozy world of dogs and books, a place where the pleasures of writing, thinking, and observing are keenly felt and the pace is never rushed. Culled from a 30-year-ouevre of work for The New Yorker and from her book illustrations, once seen, they become instantly identifiable. There are Thurbersque self-portraits and Hockney-like interiors. There's a Matissean love of color and pattern, and a fondness for vignettes. Kalman's feminine vision of domesticity is further heightened here by the presence of quirky personal objects — old ironing boards, ladders, and ephemera — from her studio and home.
At the nearby Arthur Ross Gallery, also part of the University of Pennsylvania, sculptor Miler Lagos and a cadre of assistants pasted two tons of old newspapers end-to-end, before hand-rolling the resulting carpet into a cylinder that's seven-feet in diameter. Lagos gently singed the paper, then turned the cylinder on its side and viola — the whole thing looks like a cross-section of a felled tree. The work is, he says, "about reversing the printing process, and turning the paper back into a 'tree'."
These two, very diverse, exhibits are part of Philagrafika's largest segment, "Independent Projects." The core exhibition, "The Graphic Unconsciousness" features work by 35 artists from 18 countries at Moore College of Art & Design; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Philadelphia Museum of Art; The Print Center; and Temple Gallery, Tyler School of Art, Temple University. "Out of Print" asks five artists to create site-specific works inspired by the five historic Philadelphia institutions —the American Philosophical Society (APS) Museum; the Historical Society of Pennsylvania; the Independence Seaport Museum; the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and the Rosenbach Museum & Library — with which they are matched. — JoAnn Greco