February 2017

Belcourt Theatre through March 1

by Megan Kelley

Fat Crow Press, Girl with Rooster, Linocut

Spanning a historic tradition of mentor and artist, HATCH-ed is an exhibition of printmaking curated by Jason Brown for the Belcourt Theatre, featuring master printmaker Jim Sherraden alongside three Hatch Show Print alumni, Julie Sola of Fat Crow Press, Mary Sullivan of Crowing Hens Bindery, and Bryce McCloud of Isle of Printing.

Sherraden’s work forms the crux of the exhibit, showcasing an artistic timeline of influence that ripples outward from his time at Hatch Show Print and through the three other artists who have worked under his wing. Brown has chosen iconic works from each of the master printmaker’s decades of making, weaving Scandinavian and Cuban influences through his unique and personal markmaking, balanced beside the firm grasp of letterpress technique that has reinvigorated Hatch Show Print.

“In each artist, the imprint of their time at Hatch is visible and yet vocalizes their own particular styles. The exhibition ripples with both legacy and possibility.”

Crowing Hens Bindery, Magnolia grandiflora, Hand colored letterpress printed linocut

Often described as a “training ground” for printmakers who come to study under a 138-year legacy of letterpress, Hatch Show Print is known for its instantly recognizable forms. Bold carvings showcase the clean composition of letterpress while also embracing visual texture, heritage aesthetics, and bright colors. Sherraden’s work pulls from this language while writing it in his own hand. His work is often handcolored after printing, working bright color through the organic visuals of handpainted strokes. His marks—in contrast to Hatch’s clean edges and commercial lines—thrive on their rough, frenetic energy, translating the movement of Quilt, elements of Sherraden’s woodblock prints are quilted, forming one vast visual example of what print can achieve when used as a jumping-off point for conceptual exploration.

These traits echo in the work of Sola, Sullivan, and McCloud, as each artist amplifies certain visual tendencies reflected in the mentorship of Hatch and Sherraden. Sola’s prints echo the bright colors and bold compositions familiar to Hatch’s aesthetic, and Sullivan often handcolors the negative space within her controlled markmaking, adding a range of expression to the sensitive, detailed botanicals.

Isle of Printing, Linocut / letterpress print

Where Sullivan engages markmaking with the precise hand of the old masters—her Wyandotte demonstrates her skill through breathtakingly miniscule, uniform letters and ornaments—Sola’s work reflects the intensity of mark found in Sherraden’s aesthetic. Sola’s figures are expressed in rounded, hatched lines, their features scratched through the linocut with dynamic energy. In her Linocut Lamp, Sola’s work breaks from the page and transforms into three dimensions, pushing the intention of print into the realm of the sculptural.

McCloud’s work, too, takes on this element of physical artifact: his Bryce Bux were distributed and then redeemed for barter goods such as postcards, hugs, or recipes, and his commercial series capture the clean aesthetics of advertising. Like Sherraden and Sola, McCloud’s works amplify the power of negative space amid busy linework, creating iconic spaces. Like Sullivan, he brings a contemporary perspective to traditions of visual narrative.

In each artist, the imprint of their time at Hatch is visible and yet vocalizes their own particular styles. The exhibition ripples with both legacy and possibility.

Jim Sherraden, # 20 Paper Quilt, Woodblock print and watercolor

View HATCH-ed through March 1 at the Belcourt Theatre. For business hours and for information about an artist talk by Jim Sherraden, visit www.belcourt.org. View more of the artists’ work online at www.jimsherraden.com; at www.fatcrowpress.com; at www.crowinghensbindery.com;
and at www.isleofprinting.com.

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