During the month of October, the ACWL-Nuveen is hosting a dynamic printmaking exhibit showcasing two bodies of work by 49 members of the Southwest Michigan Printmakers (SWMP). The SWMP traces its origins to a group of enthusiastic printmakers working together in the print studio at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in the late 1970s. The group has evolved and changed over the years but has not wavered from their mission of providing regional artist/printmakers, dedicated to the creation of hand made and fine art prints, a forum to meet bi-monthly to discuss their work and promote exhibitions that further public understanding, knowledge, and appreciation for the art of printmaking.
The SWMP has had numerous successful group exhibitions over the years with exhibits at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center, South Haven Center for the Arts, The Box Factory, The Carnegie Center for the Arts, VanSingel Gallery, and Muskegon Community College to name a few. Also notable in 2003 members of the group participated in a collaborative exhibition and catalog with Japanese printmakers entitled, “The Look of Wood: East meets West Exchange Print Exhibition”, with corresponding exhibits in Kalamazoo and Tokyo.
The current exhibition at the ACWL-Nuveen includes two themed bodies of work “The H20 Show” and “Exquisite Corpse – Head-to-Toe & In-Between”. The H20 Show includes works by 25 SWMP members who collectively created a suite of “miniature” prints based on the broad theme of water. The display makes a beautiful and poignant statement about our perceptions of water from the whimsical to political and serves as a printmaking sampler showcasing various well-executed printmaking techniques.
“Exquisite Corpse – Head-to-Toe & In-Between” showcases the work of 24 SWMP artisans who in 2017 committed to creating an edition of six 15”x11” prints in the style of their choice, imagining a randomly selected predesignated section of the body. When the prints of the 24 participating artists are exhibited four prints depicting the body from head to toe are arbitrarily assembled to make six expressive Exquisite Corpse Figures. The origin of this creative collective exercise can be credited to artists involved in the avant-garde Surrealist movement started in Europe after World War I in direct reaction to the atrocities of war. The exquisite corpse parlor game employed by artists and writers in the 1920’s encouraged the random exchange of words and images to create unique, often shocking images and unorthodox statements. This creative exercise started approximately one hundred years ago still resonates today with the intelligent and skillfully rendered art prints of 24 talented SWMP artists on display at the ACWL-Nuveen.
We were so inspired by this exhibit that we decided to create a community challenge. The challenge is entitled – “A Day in White Lake” – we are asking community members of all ages to visit the ACWL-Nuveen gallery and select their favorite “exquisite corpse” figure and write a brief creative story on how that figure would spend time in White Lake! Participants will have the chance to win a White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Gift Card and a White Lake area magnet. The winner will be announced at the end of the show on October 30th. We look forward to seeing you and hope your creative muse is inspired by this unique and truly “exquisite” printmaking show!