The Flint Institute of Arts has been collecting prints since 1930. In the exhibit “Pressed for Time: The History of Printmaking” (on display through Dec. 30), works are featured by artists such as Albrecht Durer, James Abbot McNeil Whistler and Andy Warhol — drawn mostly from the FIA’s collection of more than 3,000 works in relief, intaglio, planographic and stencil.
With such an emphasis on prints in the history of art, it makes sense the FIA is also home to the Flint Print Fair, whose sixth-annual event runs Nov. 19-20.
Eight dealers will show and sell a range of works, from projects by Old Masters to new pieces by contemporary artists. Franklin-based Paramour Fine Arts, owned by collectors Ed and Karen Ogul, will include figurative images made by Jewish artists as America came out of the Great Depression.
Also represented at the fair are prints from Stewart & Stewart in Bloomfield Hills, including artist Jane Goldman. A colleague introduced her to artist and master printer Norman Stewart, who became her publisher and dealer.
Born in Dallas and based in Boston, Goldman earned art degrees at Smith College in Massachusetts and the University of Wisconsin before spending a week at a time for more than 30 years at Stewart’s Bloomfield Hills studio. There, she created colorful images of still lifes, landscapes and abstractions, which Goldman drew and Stewart screen printed in different colors on layers for each set of multiple-piece editions. Her work has been shown around the country; it’s also in the permanent collections of the Bibliotheque Nationale (Paris), Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Detroit Institute of Arts, the Library of Congress and more. This year, Goldman turns her attention to primarily painting large watercolors.
“In Flint, there will be a focus on my ‘Audubon Suite,’ which holds 13 prints so far,” Goldman says. “They are still lifes incorporating bird prints as part of the whole design.
“I have, for many years, been making art of what I think of as ‘the world observed’ — landscapes and still lifes from direct observation and then some free association. They are occasions for considering the marvel of existence.
“A still life for me, where objects are set up in relation to each other and bathed in light and shadow, feels metaphysical or philosophical and is a real occasion for meditation. I feel like the pieces from my ‘Parsing the Universe’ series — painted from Hubble telescope viewings — remind me of the Old Testament as it describes the glory of creation and existence.”
Goldman says she has been an artist and a singer her entire life. “These days, I’m mostly a full-time artist in the studio,” she adds. Her mother, who was active in the Texas Jewish community, “wrote in a baby book, under the heading ‘Observing Your Child at Work’ when I was 3 or 4, ‘Jane sings happily to self while drawing,’” recalls Goldman, 65, who has turned her attention to art as an expression of spiritual feelings.
Between 1993 and 2003, the artist sang with the Jane Gang, a seven-piece Western swing band performing around Boston. In other bands on and off, she eventually decided to hang up her microphone professionally although still making music with friends.
“I’m a morning person,” says Goldman. “I think I would have had a rock career if that hadn’t been the case. I had some great opportunities as a singer, but I wake up early and use the studio.
“I have had a propensity for the graphic arts since the time I was a student in Paris for my junior year in college and saw my first print show. I started taking printmaking classes in my senior year, and that was it. I knew it was my true love. I tend to work in series and come back to them cyclically. Over the last 20 years, I’ve been going to Ireland and painting tidal pools.”
Goldman sometimes detours from the real world into a sphere where there is no natural existence. She did a series taken from the Tibetan Wheel of Life, using color and form to represent realms of existence that creatures are thought to go through until they get some understanding of their situations and figure out how to improve their states of being.
Goldman, married to therapist and painter Chris Gill and having a blended family of four grown children, lives in an artist co-op building where her studio is considered an extension of her home. She owns and shares a printmaking studio, Mixit Print Studio, with two partners and rents out the facilities.
In Flint, her work will be joined with projects completed by business partner Catherine Kernan, who introduced Goldman to Stewart. Kernan paints on wood used as a nexus for painting and printmaking.
“Some print works technically could have been done 500 years ago, and some only could have been done in the last five years because of technological advances,” says Goldman, who teaches her skills at workshops.
“There are digital images that only could have been created off a computer and then printed in some way. I have some of those in the show; they are pigment prints, reproductions of paintings that have been printed with more painting on each impression of the edition. That’s a way of printing that didn’t exist when I started working with Norm Stewart.” *
The Flint Print Fair runs Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 19-20, at the Flint Museum of Arts. There is no admission fee to view the prints offered for sale. “Pressed for Time: The History of Printmaking” runs through Dec. 30. (810) 234-1695; flintarts.org.
By Suzanne Chessler, Contributing Writer