In celebration of its 20th anniversary, Artpace is exhibiting a retrospective show of prints from 28 past residency and exhibiting artists. “Hare & Hound Press + Artpace: The Art of Collaboration” features the printer’s proofs that Hare & Hound Press founder Janet Lennie Flohr donated to the Linda Pace Foundation. The exhibition is on view in the Hudson Showroom Jan. 15 through May 17, 2015. An accompanying catalog documents the donation.
ArtPace also introduced Sue Graze this week. She will serve as interim executive director following the resignation of Amada Cruz. Cruz left Artpace to serve as director of the Phoenix Art Museum.
“This is really a continuation,” said Graze, a former lecturer at the University of Texas and executive director of Arthouse at the Jones Center from 1999-2011. Graze was present for the opening of Artpace in 1995.
“I was invited to give a talk on what Artpace would mean to Texas,” she said of the opening.
Graze described how she predicted that the residences and studio spaces would help put Artpace on the “must-visit art map.”
Her prediction has proven true. For 20 years, Artpace has been changing the lives of artists and enlivening San Antonio’s cultural landscape. Through the International Artist In Residency (IAIR) Program, Artpace offers artists a studio space, honoria, production money, and the support of a full-time working staff. The artists’ presence in the community during this time brings new connections, enriches San Antonio’s artistic dialog, and maintains a special reputation for San Antonio on an international basis.
One very strong connection throughout Artpace’s existence is the relationship with local Hare & Hound Press, a collaborative fine arts printmaking studio. Founded in 1993 by Flohr, the press became the go-to studio for Artpace artists when they want to make a fine art print. During their 17-year relationship with AIAR artists, Hare & Hound has produced 58 editions for 33 of Artpace’s residency and exhibiting artists.
“I want to thank all of the artists who I have gotten to work with,” Flohr said. “It has made my life rich.”
According to Flohr, “The mindset of the IAIR artists is different – they present projects that are particularly challenging, so it’s like we have to invent the wheel every time. But that’s what makes it work.”
Flohr met her printing partner, Gary Nichols, at graduate school at UTSA. Together, they combined their printing knowledge to take on multiple challenges by artists, including sandblasting glass, etching on stainless steel, and copper-plating sea urchins. They have established an admirable reputation among artists, earning their respect for their ability to take on daunting challenges and successfully find solutions.
Flohr recalled an especially tricky project from artist Katrina Moorhead. The artist, who was born in Ireland and now resides in Houston, wanted to make “healthy wallpaper for Napoleon.” When Napoleon died, arsenic was found in a snippet of his hair, sparking suspicion that he had been poisoned by the British. Through research, Moorhead discovered the source of Napoleon’s possible arsenic poisoning may have been the wallpaper in the room where he was held, which contained copper arsenic that vaporized into the air. Moorhead set about the task of making edible wallpaper.
“We used a gampi paper, a soy-based binder, Hershey’s cocoa for the two shades of brown, 28-karat gold leaf, and dried herbs – mostly parsley ground up with a mortar and pestle – and strained through silk,” Flohr said.
San Antonio artist Nate Cassie, an IAIR in 1997, said he liked to work with Flohr and Nichols because “They are artists in their own right. The first thing I want to know when I start to work with them is what are they doing? They can print on stainless steel and electroplate bugs, and it’s all done in this fancy garage. … There’s a mad scientist element to it.”
“(Flohr and Nichols have) incredible patience,” Robleto said. “Working with artists can be difficult, which is probably obvious.”
For example, Robleto’s prints are images of 18 Polaroids taken by fans at concerts. These accidental shots of concert spotlights bear an uncanny resemblance to images taken by NASA space probes. Robleto credited Hare & Hound for its ability to capture the texture and color of the Polaroid as an actual object and make that come through in the prints.
“It takes an infinite amount of time to make a fine art print out of digital technology,” Flohr said, giving credit to Nichols for his expertise in digital printing, which involves precision-like detail and tedious color corrections. Flohr started with an antique litho press, but the facilities have grown throughout the years to include an etching press, wide format digital printer, and flatbed scanner.
They are now on their third digital printer, but they are also witnessing a tapering of the demand for digital images, Nichols explained.
“The traditional is coming back, such as woodcuts, litho and gravures,” he said.
Flohr’s most recent projects include working with the current artist in residence, Adam Helms.
Hare & Hound donated a variety of plates to Artpace that demonstrate the types of printing they do. Artpace’s associate educators will share these tools with area students to demonstrate how these prints are made. Last year, Artpace served more than 8,000 students in schools around Bexar County.
*Featured/top image: Six color photogravures by Isaac Julien entitled “After Mazatlan,” 1999, (left) and Dario Robleto’s “Shadows Evade the Sun I,” 2012, and “Shadows Evade the Sun II,” 2012. Hare & Hound Press + Artpace: The Art of Collaboration, celebrates Artpace’s 20th year and is made possible by a generous gift of works by Janet Lennie Flohr of Hare & Hound Press to the Linda Pace Foundation.