The local art scene springs forth

Hofstra University Museum highlights distinctive artist portfolios

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The artistic process is examined in Hofstra University Museum’s latest exhibit, which shares entire portfolios of works from the museum’s Permanent Collections.

“Portfolios II: Offset Lithographic Prints” is the second in a series of exhibitions that showcases selected artist portfolios. Each portfolio represents images that the artist intends to be viewed as a group, with clear connections between the selected works.

“We want to continue to exhibit works in this way, where we can show an entire portfolio,” says Karen Albert, Hofstra Museum’s deputy director and chief curator. “It’s a rare opportunity to view a portfolio in its entirety. These portfolios illustrate how individual the artistic process is.”

 The nine artists on view — including Chuck Close, John Moore, Olga Moore, Italo Scanga, Salvatore Scarpitta, and Miriam Schapiro — experimented using a commercial press for creating fine art prints from 1978 to 1981. 

These painters, sculptors, and printmakers were asked to explore the artistic and creative potential of the offset lithographic printing process, initiated in 1975 when the Ford Foundation awarded a grant to Temple University’s Tyler School of Art to utilize its Graphic Design Department’s offset lithography printing facility.

“It was a time of experimentation with different techniques,” says Albert. “They were using a commercial printing technique to make their prints. All used the same method but the results and what they created vary greatly.”

Among the highlights, Miriam Schapiro’s “The Fan” stands out as a impressive example of the results achieved through use of this process. “Her use of pattern, color and design — her trademarks — is beautifully represented in the prints, which were die cut in the shape of a fan.”

The exhibit demonstrates how collaborations between artists and print workshops have led to innovations such as the combining of different printmaking techniques and other artistic practices.

“It’s interesting to see what individual artists created using a similar process and similar size paper,” Albert says. “Just as the artists featured in this portfolio experimented with a commercial method, artists continue to innovate utilizing all types of digital media, including the recent addition of 3-D printing, to create new works of art. As technology and digitization become more prevalent in everyday life, it is exciting to imagine what collaborations between engineers and artists might create in the future.”

As always, the exhibit experience is enhanced by related programming for all ages.

Upcoming events include “Artful Adventures,” Hofstra Museum’s monthly program geared to ages 5-10. Families can examine the art process with a museum educator at this weekend’s session, on Saturday, April 14, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., culminating in a hands-on art project. This month an “art fan” is the inspiration for creating an abstract collage using traditional textiles.

That’s followed by a Slow Art Day event, also on Saturday, at 12-2 p.m. The museum participates in this global event created to encourage everyone to discover the joy of experiencing art. Join museum educators for a slow “look” at five works on view and then gather for a lively discussion about them.

Closing out the month is a panel discussion on “New Frontiers: Art and Technology,” on Wednesday, April 25, 4:30-6 p.m. Ted Segal, Ph.D., Hofstra University assistant professor of engineering, is the facilitator, with Richard Banks, president, Reflex Offset Printing Inc. (commercial printer); Dan Reynolds, senior applications engineer, Thornton Tomasetti; Susan Schafer, Ph.D., Hofstra University adjunct assistant professor, fine arts, design, art history; and artist Scot Thompson, participating.

Registration is required for these programs.

Portfolios II: Offset Lithographic Prints

When: Saturday and Sunday, noon-4 p.m.; Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Where: David Filderman Gallery, Joan and Donald E. Axinn Library, South Campus. (516) 463-5672 or www.hofstra.edu/museum.