Printmaking has shaped culture in all parts of the world for generations. In fourteenth century Europe, woodcut prints provided a means to distribute Christian images to the common people. In the 15th century, Gutenberg's printed Bible ushered in a whole new era of literacy.
Throughout the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, artists around the world were drawn to printmaking for its graphic beauty and its potential to convey symbols and messages that could speak to the current human condition and influence social change.
In the United States, the printed image has directly been related to the political and social fabric of American life. In early Concord, artists like Paul Revere printed dramatic images of life under the thumb of British governorship to unite the Colonists. In WWI and WWII, prints, posters, and broadsides stimulated homeland support for the troops overseas.
Today, contemporary printmakers such as Luis JimÃ©nez, Faith Ringgold, Enrique Chagoya, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith and many others continue the tradition of addressing the socio/political in life, albeit more subtly, as they explore the deeper and more personal nuances of living in the world today.
The printmaking artists in this exhibition created their work in one of the four great Midwestern print studios: Lawrence Lithography of Lawrence, Kansas; Joe Zanatta Editions of Shawnee, Kansas; Segura Arts Studio of Notre Dame, IN; and Echo Press of Bloomington, IN. Each of these studios, or presses, has a distinctive approach to the printmaking process and, thus, each has attracted a different group of artists over the years. The artists selected for this exhibition represent the cream of the crop for each of these four presses.