Opening Reception: September 16th, 2010
Juror/Curator: Grace Shanley and Ron Pokrasso
With this exhibition, the Center for Contemporary Printmaking recognizes two of its luminaries, both of whom have been instrumental in CCP’s history and both of whom are inspired as artists by the many layers of memory. For me there is a satisfying sense of timeliness that Grace Shanley and Ron Pokrasso have partnered to present and reveal their personal passions and inner reflections in this exhibition, Recurrence of Memory.
For Grace, it is an opportune moment to exhibit her work in depth for the first time in an institution that her vision and planning made possible. Her prints are displayed in the gallery named in her honor, recognizing her dedication to CCP since its inception as founder, first director, and benefactor.
Ron Pokrasso’s contribution to the continuing success of CCP cannot be overstated, for he introduced the concept of the Monothon, the marathon week when artists and master printers collaborate for hours on end in printing monotypes. At week’s end, when the printing is over, each artist donates a print to be sold at auction, and the proceeds significantly contribute to CCP’s annual operating budget. Monothon is now in its twelfth year, and Ron returns annually to teach a weeklong workshop in monotype printmaking to prepare the CCP community for its most significant fundraising event of the year.
Both artists employ innovative printmaking methods such as Solarplate intaglio, pronto and paper plate lithography, and digital ink jet printing. Their prints, like their memories, and multilayered, and they frequently include recurring collaged printed elements. Grace’s work is exclusively focused on her large and growing family: her six children and their spouses and thirteen grandchildren in particular. Her prints refer to the covered porch of a country home in Blooming Grove, Pennsylvania, which have been a retreat and rendezvous for five generations of Shanleys. The porch serves as a stage on which the characters are portrayed both as they are now and as Grace remembers them when they were young children. The figures from early childhood are printed in muted tones and appear in the background as if in a distant memory, with their images as confident young adults juxtaposed, brought forth to take center stage. With a playful nod to the past, the grandchildren’s poses as children resemble their attitudes as young adults: hand in hand, cousin alongside cousin.