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March 23, 2018   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Shop showcases student printmaking in downtown exhibit

The walls of the studio gallery at The Ink Shop, located downtown, are filled with an array of artwork created by students from both Ithaca College and Cornell University.

The “I See You (IC/CU)” exhibit at The Ink Shop runs from Feb. 2 to March 29 and offers students from both schools the opportunity to display their work in a local gallery. The exhibit has been running for four years and offers many students their first opportunity to have their work displayed on this big of a scale.

The art on display has been made by students in print classes at the schools. Printmaking is the art of producing an image typically on paper, fabric or parchment. These images can be in the form of an etching or carving in a woodblock and can be easily reproduced under the supervision of the original artist.  

Craig Mains, director and exhibit and publication designer at The Ink Shop Printmaking Center, has been working with the founders of the shop, Patricia Hunsinger and Susan Wiesand, to open up the current exhibit, “I See You (IC/CU).” Mains said students have submitted a strong and dynamic group of prints using a variety of techniques.

Hunsinger, also a lecturer in the Department of Art at the college, works with Greg Page, print instructor at Cornell, to offer opportunities to student artists. She has worked with study abroad art programs during her career and said she would like to see the shop’s global portfolio expand. The artwork displayed in the printshop would be easy to share with artists from different countries given that it is light in weight.  

“We decided to get our two colleges together, have a show, and then we’ll get all the students down at The Ink Shop so they can see what’s going on in the community,” she said. “I can see that global focus happening even more so, and I think that it would be really great if we included more universities — possibly some of the ones in Indonesia that I work with.”

In January 2017, Hunsinger conducted a study abroad winter session in Indonesia and studied how tourism impacts the environment, social justice issues and civil rights issues from the 1965 massacre in Indonesia.  

Leah Byck, a sophomore at the college, has two prints on display that she worked on in her printmaking class that focus on music.

“Both prints have to do with my music and the feelings that have come up while either being a music student or the feelings I get when playing music,” Byck said. “Capturing music in my art is really special to me. It has always been a dream of mine to be in an art show, and now having been in one for the first time, I know that this is only the beginning and that the best is yet to come for my art and my work.”

Byck said students who are looking to start having their art displayed should stay passionate.

“Stay connected to people, and get involved in anything that even makes you somewhat curious,” Byck said.

Cornell sophomore Jordan Kelly currently has two intaglio prints, which are images incised into a surface, on display and said she is happy she has the opportunity to showcase her work.

“There aren’t many opportunities on campus, unfortunately, so I was pleasantly surprised to be able to show some of my work in a setting outside of the college,” Kelly said. “I really enjoyed this opportunity in particular because I was able to speak to individuals about my work and the processes and research behind them.”

Page said he tries his best to incorporate his students’ work into The Ink Shop. He is also able to incorporate work from students at the college through Hunsinger.

He said he believes it is important that art students from both the college and Cornell to get their feet wet and start exhibiting their work to the public.

“We’re trying to constantly encourage students to exhibit and produce work and begin to consider themselves as developing artists with a practice that will extend themselves throughout their lifetime,” Page said. “Exhibiting is a very important part of that.”

Emma Regnier, a senior at Cornell has taken printmaking classes with Page and said most of the work that she has displayed in the show is from those classes.

“He and I collaborated on a project where I got to do my own work, which was of the museum collection of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the vertebrae collections and specimens they have there,” Regnier said. “I was able to go there and produce work and drawings and come back here and create prints from specimens that I observed.”

Cornell sophomore Lucy Plowe said the two pieces she had in the exhibit were ones that she made in her intro class with Page. In his class, she tried both woodcut and lithography printing techniques and decided that she liked working with lithography.  Lithography is the process of printing usually from a stone or a metal plate with a ball-grained surface to create prints.

“It’s a very cool process,” Plowe said. “It’s a lot of layering. It’s a lot of coming up with your own concept, so it’s cool to be able to do my thing.”