The Burnaby Art Gallery (BAG) presents two summer exhibitions at public libraries featuring works on paper by local artists who have strong connections to the Malaspina Printmakers Society.
These Burnaby Art Gallery Offsite Exhibitions present a selection of prints from the Malaspina Printshop Archives, a compendium of all works created at the print shop between 1977 and 1982.
Matrix: Perspectives from the Malaspina Archive (1979-1982) is a retrospective of works by women artists from the society. The exhibition runs from July 11 – September 18, 2016 at the Bob Prittie Library (located at 6100 Willingdon Avenue, Burnaby).
In printmaking, the matrix is the surface upon which the artist creates a print design. The matrix – be it a metal plate, a wood or linoleum block or a lithographic stone—is inked to make an impression on a sheet of paper by pressing it by hand or through a printing press.
As the foundation for the art form itself, the matrix is thus the basis for the experimental printmaking taking place at Malaspina in the 1970s and ’80s. The term “matrix” comes from the Latin m?tr?x, meaning “uterus” or “womb,” and is derived from m?ter, meaning “mother,” making the matrilineage of the word clear.
This exhibition brings together the art of female printmakers working at the Malaspina Printmakers Society between what were the turbulent years of 1979 and 1982. Further looking, analysis and questioning of these works of art in relation to the larger art historical, social and political concepts of the time ultimately make the gender of the artists irrelevant.
Across town in the McGill Library (located at 4595 Albert Street, Burnaby) is a solo show of new and past work by Bowen Island printmaker Marty Levenson. The Levenson exhibition is on from July 12 – September 19, 2016.
Marty Levenson’s exhibit, Now and Then, features four coloured etchings and a mixed media composition printed at Malaspina in the early 1980s together with recently created monoprints. Most of these newer prints reference the garden maintained by Levenson’s wife, Jacquie. The three works from the series entitled History into Nature were inspired by the writings of Roland Barthes. Levenson’s more recent monoprints appear courtesy of the artist.
Still a member of Malaspina, Levenson now does his printing at his home studio on Bowen Island and maintains a studio in Vancouver for his registered art therapy practice.
Both exhibitions use the City of Burnaby Permanent Art Collection’s Malaspina Printshop Archive as a base for investigating printmaking activities in the early days of the organization. The archive was gifted by Milton and Fei Wong in 1988.