The Master Printer, the Artist, and the Publisher
Catharine Clark Gallery and Mullowney Printing began their collaborative relationship with the release of Sandow Birk's "Ten Leading Causes of Death in America,” a suite of chine-collé, direct gravure etchings published in 2004. In 2011, Mullowney and Clark began co-publishing Birk's large-scale gravure series titled "Imaginary Monuments.” In 2019 they formalized their partnership and co-publish, release, and promote editions created at Mullowney Printing.
The exhibition includes works by gallery artists, as well as invited artists. Highlighted works include Copacetic by Alison Saar. First published in 2019, Copacetic is a suite of eight multi-block linocuts on handmade Hamada Kozo, backed with Sekishu Kozo, based on images created by Saar in 2018 for the 125th Street subway station in New York City. Saar expanded her original project, Hear the Lone Whistle Moan, and created Copacetic, a panoramic scene of imagined dancers, singers, musicians, and patrons from the historic 1930s and 40s Harlem Renaissance. Saar notes that her work is inspired by “the many great African American artists of the Harlem Renaissance that had active printmaking practices, such as Elizabeth Catlett, Hale Woodruff, and Aaron Douglas.”
In conjunction with the exhibition, the gallery also exhibits Masami Teraoka’s new gravure with Mullowney Printing, Geisha and Madonna (2020). In the composition, Teraoka depicts a geisha and the Madonna in a sexually frank, pieta-like pose. The image articulates a relationship between sexual freedom and individual liberty in contrast to the Catholic Church’s dogma against non-procreative physical intimacy. Geisha and Madonna is also a stylistic hybrid of Teraoka’s signature ukiyo-e style with his ongoing Renaissance-inspired painting. Combining motifs from both traditions, Teraoka’s newest print epitomizes the artist’s interest in art historical and cultural mash ups.
The exhibition also marks the gallery’s debut of Mash Notes by Brad Brown and Lytle Shaw. Mash Notes is a series of mash notes from poetry to painting and back, from the present of pluralism to the fifties of high abstraction, and from Brad Brown and Lytle Shaw to Larry Rivers and Frank O’Hara, whose 1958 collaboration, Stones, operates as organizing structure. Though produced at the height of New York School abstraction, Stones cultivated a discredited language of figuration, a visual vocabulary that seemed to many at the time ahistorical. Brown’s abstract monoprints thus pair with Rivers in an odd form of symmetry, pressing on abstraction when most viewers are uncomfortable with it, seeing abstraction as a “historical” language of art making. Shaw’s poems, in response, recombine O’Hara’s actual words from Stones in ways that allow reflection on Brown’s monotypes as well as the nature of poet/artist relations.