September 14, 2017 | Katherine Adams
Despite the numerous delays and cancellations caused by Harvey’s visit to Houston, some highly anticipated events are still going forward as planned. The public preview of “75th Anniversary American Abstract Artists Print Portfolio” at University of Houston-Clear Lake’s Art Gallery was cancelled due to inclement weather. However, the artist’s talk, presented by Daniel G. Hill, president of the artists’ association, will proceed as scheduled on Monday, Oct. 2 at 6 p.m. Hill is also assistant professor of fine arts at Parsons School of Design, The New School, in New York.
This portfolio, which focuses on the use of digital technology, represents a significant departure from the artists’ customary methods of creating their work. Hill said that the artists had to take the time to consider ways to recreate their art using digital media, a medium with which most of the artists were completely unfamiliar, before they could proceed.
“American Abstract Artists has published four print portfolios since it began in 1936,” Hill said. “All three prior portfolios had been printed using various forms of lithography. Since this portfolio is very much about working with digital media to create imagery, it shows a completely unique way to express each artist’s specific vision. It represents an entirely new perspective.”
The idea to recreate the artist’s work using software such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator was an adjustment for artists accustomed to working in their own principal medium. “For example, a sculptor might be used to working with certain materials, but the work would be translated into a digital image that is consistent with that artist’s vision,” Hill explained.
“That artist’s challenge was to figure out how to convey his way of thinking and working in the outcome of a digitally printed image. Channeling one's sensibility through a different medium is a real challenge for many artists, and that process is what we’re seeing in this portfolio.”
The artists, Hill said, learned a great deal about the advantages and limitations of working with digital software. “For example, there is such a wide range of colors you can use with software, but still there are certain constraints,” he said. “There are so many approaches and challenges when you work from existing art and try to make it look the same in a new medium. The artists learned to put their past experiences aside and accept the strengths and limitations of this digital medium.”
The nationally touring digital print exhibition has traveled extensively throughout the Eastern Seaboard over the last three years. “I’m delighted to bring the 75th Anniversary American Abstract Artists Print Portfolio to Houston,” said UHCL Art Gallery Director Jeffrey Bowen. “I’m proud to say its presentation here marks the first time the portfolio is being showcased in a university setting west of the Mississippi River.”
The exhibition closes Oct. 20. For more information about UH-Clear Lake’s Art Gallery and its exhibitions, visit www.uhcl.edu/art-gallery/exhibitions/75th-anniversary-aaa-print-portfolio.