Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Magnolia featured in Oakland Art Enthusiast

Kiki Smith tapestry proofs at Magnolia Editions, Oakland, CA; photo by Al Cosio

After a recent visit to Magnolia Editions, Oakland Art Enthusiast editors Monique Delaunay and Al Cosio interviewed Magnolia co-founder and director Donald Farnsworth for an "Arts in Depth" feature in the online magazine that includes a series of beautiful photos by Cosio of the studio and works in progress.

Ceramic works by Chuck Close at Magnolia Editions, Oakland, CA; photo by Al Cosio

This comprehensive interview covers everything from Farnsworth's philosophy when developing projects with artists like Chuck Close and Kiki Smith to a consideration of Oakland's art scene and the ways that Magnolia serves as a hub for a whole community of Bay Area artists and art lovers:
OAE: Are there particular projects you are especially proud of being a part? Any particular artist with whom you have worked that is particularly meaningful?

Farnsworth: What is more important to me than any one particular artist, and what is ultimately the foremost reason for Magnolia’s existence and continued survival, is the community we have built here. Without the brilliance of local artists like Squeak Carnwath, Rupert Garcia, Hung Liu, Lewis deSoto, Guy Diehl, Mel Ramos, Mildred Howard, Mark Stock, Enrique Chagoya and George Miyasaki, we would not have the studio we have today. Without the support of museums like the de Young, where curator Karin Breuer honored the studio and Rupert Garcia in 2011 with the show
Rupert Garcia: The Magnolia Editions Projects 1991-2011, surveying our twenty years of collaboration with Rupert, and without the continued support of friends like the Bay Wolf restaurant and Brown Sugar Kitchen we would not have the opportunities to do what we do. Magnolia sometimes serves as a de facto think tank, where a master bookbinder like John DeMerritt may drop in at the same time as an expert glass artist like Dorothy Lenehan or a brilliant curator and scholar like Barbaro Martinez-Ruiz. Ideas and enthusiasm are constantly being exchanged between people from various creative disciplines: that’s the heart and soul of the studio.

Proofs of new Mel Ramos woodcut editions at Magnolia Editions, Oakland, CA; photo by Al Cosio

Please visit Oakland Art Enthusiast to read the full interview and to check out more profiles of local galleries, exhibitions and artists.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Works on handmade paper from Awagami Factory

Extra large sheets of washi being made at Awagami Factory in Tokushima, Japan for Chuck Close prints at Magnolia Editions; photos by Craig Anczelowitz

Proof of a watercolor print by Chuck Close on custom-made Awagami handmade paper

Detail of proof by Chuck Close on Awagami handmade paper

Recently, Magnolia received a generous offer from the Awagami Factory in Tokushima, Japan. Magnolia has been printing on Awagami paper for many years; in 2014, on the occasion of the Southern Graphics Council's 42nd annual conference here in the Bay Area, Craig Anczelowitz and Aya Fujimori of Awagami reached out to our Oakland studio about providing paper for new projects to be shown during the conference.

The Awagami paper mill has a remarkable history spanning seven generations of traditional washi papermakers; they now produce a variety of exceptional handmade papers, including washi types that are specially formulated for inkjet printing.

The mill sent samples of dozens of different kinds of washi to Magnolia, where we distributed them to interested (and interesting) artists. William T. Wiley used his samples to create new year's cards; Hung Liu hand painted a small rat in sumi ink on each sample (these irresistible miniature paintings can currently be seen at Magnolia). After Liu and other artists such as Bob Nugent, Mary Hull Webster, and Mildred Howard each made their own selection of papers with richly varying degrees of texture, weight, and opacity, Awagami generously bundled and shipped the papers to us from Tokushima, and the artists immediately set to work printing, drawing, painting, and even sewing on the sheets of handmade washi.

The resulting works are as wonderfully eclectic as the Magnolia community itself, ranging from the solid, woody naturalism of Bob Nugent's prints mounted on panel to the intimate ink painting of Buddha's hand fruits by Hung Liu to the seductive surrealism of Mary Hull Webster's ghostly, colorful portrait prints.

A 2014 print on Awagami handmade paper by Mildred Howard, published by Magnolia Editions

Mildred Howard's series of Gold Dust prints on Awagami paper incorporate black-and-white portraits of the artist into the design of an early 20th-century box of washing powder; the appealingly tactile grayscale texture of Howard's braided dreadlocks and her Miles Davis-esque stance (facing away from the viewer) introduce new elements -- arresting, unexpected, and quietly subversive -- into the archaic Gold Dust packaging, into which the artist has also embedded subtle new details including Booker T. Washington half dollars and Sacajawea dollar coins.

We encourage interested parties to visit Magnolia where you can see these works, many of which are still on display here, and can also check out samples of Awagami paper for your own projects. And of course, make sure to keep in touch with Awagami Factory via their website.

Magnolia continues to partner with Awagami on upcoming projects: currently, Awagami Factory is creating custom washi for new watercolor prints by Chuck Close, as seen in the photos above. These works incorporate custom made paper and custom ICC color profiles developed specifically for the washi being used.

To Craig, Aya, and everyone at Awagami – we sincerely thank you for your generosity in sharing your seven generations' worth of papermaking brilliance with our studio!

More art by Mildred Howard from Magnolia Editions

More art by Hung Liu from Magnolia Editions

More art by Bob Nugent from Magnolia Editions

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

SGCI Exhibition and Awards Ceremony

Tapestries by Kiki Smith, left, and Chuck Close published by Magnolia Editions at UC Berkeley's Worth Ryder Gallery

The Southern Graphics Council International, the nation's pre-eminent print organization, held its 42nd annual conference, Bridges: Spanning Tradition, Innovation, and Activism, in the San Francisco Bay Area this weekend. On Saturday night, the SGCI presented a variety of awards to distinguished print artists including Magnolia director Donald Farnsworth, who received an award for Innnovation, and Rupert Garcia, who received a lifetime achievement award.

Rupert Garcia addresses the audience at the SGCI awards ceremony

Kala Institute founders Yuzo Nakano and Archana Horsting

Donald Farnsworth accepts his award for Innovation at the 2014 SGCI awards ceremony

UC Berkeley Continuing Lecturer Randy Hussong also organized an exhibition at the university's Worth Ryder Art Gallery for award recipients. Farnsworth chose to highlight a variety of projects published by Magnolia Editions in the last thirty years. Below, a selection of photos from the opening; please check Facebook for the full set of Farley Gwazda's wonderful pictures from the evening!

George Miyasaki retrospective exhibition at Worth Ryder; photo by Farley Gwazda

Watermark of Frida Kahlo by Rupert Garcia at Worth Ryder Gallery

Craig Nagasawa, Carol Ladewig, Richard Shaw, and Jan Wurm at Worth Ryder; photo by Farley Gwazda

Work by Chuck Close, Enrique Chagoya, Bruce Conner, and Ray Saunders at Worth Ryder Gallery

Richard Shaw, Doug Heinie, and Donald Farnsworth at Worth Ryder; photo by Farley Gwazda