A new exhibit at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking asked its artists to be “Of The Moment” and highlight what they were experiencing at a specific moment in time. Artists chose a variety of images, with some highlighting literally where they were, like the shores of Compo Beach in Westport; while others dove into more complicated topics that they—and many others—were grappling with, including gun violence and refugees.
Kimberly Henrikson, the executive director of the center, curated the exhibit and said she intentionally chose to keep it broad to allow for a variety of submissions.
“I thought it would be a good use of everyone’s time to ask for submissions of work demonstrating where you are right now,” she said, noting that she was curious about “what themes, processes, and subject matters” the artists were exploring throughout the year.
The center’s mission is to “support, preserve, and advance the art of original prints.” As part of that mission, each year the center hosts an exhibition for the work of its members to showcase their work to the community. The center has about 140 members, but not all choose to submit pieces for the exhibit, Henrikson said.
This year’s exhibit featured not only a variety of images highlighting their “moment,” but also a variety of print-types, ranging from collages and digital prints to reduction woodcuts, which involve using one piece of wood and multiple layers of colors.
Some pieces focus on the literal, Henrikson said, where artists literally captured the moment that they were at this year, such as “Red Streak,” a reduction woodcut by Shirley Bernstein, which captures a vibrant red sunrise over the water. Others, such as “Gun World” by Margaret Roleke, which features monoprints and a collage, tackle the “Of The Moment” more figuratively, highlighting what issues or topics the artists were working through.
Artist Nomi Silverman received “Best in Show” for her multi-year project, a two-volume printed book titled “I had a home once.” Silverman’s piece features the story of Abdullah Saleh, who was forced to flee Syria in 2011.
“I met Abdullah Saleh in Istanbul in the fall of 2014,” Silverman wrote, describing the piece. He spoke English and helped her with a piece she was working on at the time. “During the two-hour discussion, we learned about his life in Syria, and after I asked him if he would let me tell his story and he graciously agreed, offering me a rare window into what it is like to rebuild one’s life from the rubble.”
“Up until 2011, Abdullah was living a solidly middle-class life in Damascus. Until Syria was enveloped in a devastating civil war. Until the destruction forced him from his home. Until the breakup of his family,” Silverman wrote describing the piece.
Next year, Silverman will have their own exhibit, as a part of being named best in show. Last year’s winner, Linda Herritt, has her own exhibit up currently alongside this year’s member exhibit.
Herritt’s exhibit, “Patterned Prose,” features her work that “isolates short phrases from popular culture or classic novels, combining accidental painterly effects with the predictable geometry of text.”
The exhibits are open and free to the public until February 19, 2023, at 299 West Avenue in Norwalk within Mathews Park. Learn more about the Center for Contemporary Printmaking.