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Approaching Zero – At the Frontier of Contemporary Printmaking

Kala Gallery is proud to present Approaching Zero – At the Frontier of Contemporary Printmaking featuring work by Miguel A. Aragón (Mexico/USA), Stella Ebner (NY, USA), Zarina Hashmi (India/USA), Walter Jule (Canada), Kouseki Ono (Japan), and Katsutoshi Yuasa (Japan). Delving into the medium of printmaking, this exhibition investigates artists who incorporate various systematic printmaking methods while pushing the boundaries of print-based work. Each of these artists uses different printmaking methods and creates distinctive artwork. Printmaking often requires accurate and detailed manual hand labor. These artists all share a common strategy or characteristic: they master a particular printmaking technique as a foundation and then go to the very limits of their own system. Despite their machine-like systematic labor, we see unique distortions and textures created by the human hand.

Approaching Zero also celebrates cross-cultural artistic exchange. In conjunction with the 42nd Southern Graphics Council International (SGCI) printmaking conference in San Francisco/Bay Area (March 26-30, 2014, first time this conference is on the west coast) and Kala Art Institute’s 40th anniversary programming, Kala is bringing together artists from around the globe, specifically Canada, Japan, Mexico, and the USA who use traditional printmaking techniques in new and unexpected ways. In addition to the exhibition at the Kala Gallery, Kala will host a series of printmaking demos, a panel discussion, and a gallery talk. The themes of the 42nd SGCI printmaking conference are Bridges – Spanning Tradition, Innovation, and Activism. For more information about the SGCI conference, check their website http://sgcisanfrancisco.org.

Miguel A. Aragón creates a series of laser-cut burnt residue embossed prints based on newspaper photographs of murders occurring in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, a primary battleground in the violent war between rival cartels for control of the drug trade into the U.S. By only using the burned pigment as the source of his mark-making he draws the connection between the medium’s lack of ink and absence of life, and plays with the idea that those events are burned into the consciousness of the entire city. Aragón was born and raised in Ciudad Juárez, México. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in venues such as the International Print Center New York, Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco CA, OSDE Espacio de Arte in Argentina, Austin Museum of Art, Mexic-Arte Museum, and more. He is currently an Assistant Professor in Printmaking at the College of Staten Island NY.

Stella Ebner creates silkscreen prints centered on the perceived ordinariness of everyday American life. She selects events, moments, and public or private spaces that are so ubiquitous that they are largely ignored, but when held up to the viewer they become a place of self-recognition. She is the recipient of an Artist in the Marketplace Grant from the Bronx Museum of the Arts, and was recently included in exhibitions at Greenleaf Gallery at Whittier College, International Print Center New York, and Highpoint Center for Printmaking. She is an Assistant Professor of Art + Design at Purchase College, SUNY, NY.

Best known as a printmaker, Zarina Hashmi’s work is defined by her themes of diaspora and memory.  The concept of home – whether personal, geographical, natural or political – resonates throughout Zazrina’s work. She has used various techniques of printmaking including intaglio, woodcuts, lithography and silkscreen, creating series of several prints in order to reference a multiplicity of locations and concepts. Zarina was born in Aligarh, India. She has participated in numerous exhibitions, including Mind and Matter: Alternative Abstractions from 1940s to Present at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Gouge: The Modern Woodcut at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Her retrospective exhibition at the Hammer Museum entitled Zarina: Paper Like Skin traveled to the Guggenheim in New York in 2013. Zarina currently lives and works in New York.

Walter Jule’s work examines notions of transience, unseen forces and the universal law of cause and effect. Influenced by his decade-long meditation practice, Jule invites viewers to explore his surrealistic image created by his integration of photography and printmaking techniques. Combining discipline, technical skills and spontaneity, his work presents breakdown of sequential time, concentrated into the present moment. Jule is a Professor Emeritus of University of Alberta, Canada. Jule has taught and lectured widely. His exhibitions includes: SKIN, Walter Jule, Selected Works, 1968-2008, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon; The Nickel Arts Museum, University of Calgary, Alberta; Fine Arts Building Gallery, University of Alberta, Edmonton; Schneider Museum of Art, Southern Oregon University, Oregon; Municipal Museum of Art, Gyor, Hungary, and many more.

Kouseki Ono creates multiple miniature cylinders using a silkscreen method. He hand-draws dots on his screen and prints this screen over and over to make 100 layers of ink. Ono combines these cylinders in various ways to create wall and floor installations, and sculpture pieces. The colors of the surface change depending on where the viewer stands and the effect is astonishing. Ono received his MFA from Tokyo University of the Arts and currently lives and works in Saitama, Japan. His work has been exhibited in various venues such as Art Front Gallery, Yoseido Gallery and Shiseido Gallery in Tokyo, Nagi Museum Of Contemporary Art in Okayama, Bates College Museum of Art, and more.

Katsutoshi Yuasa creates large-scale photographic woodcut prints with detailed textures. He digitally processes a photographic image and transfers it on a wood panel, and then hand carves the image. It’s a time consuming process. He says “I become a lens and start seeing the (photographic) subject. This is sometimes like a meditation. Because I strongly look for something pure, to the contrary impurities overflows from bottom of myself. My artwork is full of impurities.” Yuasa received his MFA from Royal College of Art, London. His work has been exhibited internationally in venues such as Yokohama Museum of Art, Kloster Bentlage, Rheine, Germany; Artify Gallery, Hong Kong China; ISE Cultural Foundation, New York; Gallery YUKI-SIS, Tokyo and more. He is currently a lecturer at Musashino Art University, Tokyo, Japan.