Sharing. It's what we were taught to do as children. Thought it may fall by the wayside professionally for some, it's something artists rely on, said printmaker Jeff Sherven.
"Print media artists exchange and share work all time," said Sherven, a student in the University at Buffalo's visual studies department and a print media instructional technician. "Exchanging ideas is one of our essential purposes."
Starting Thursday, when the sixth annual print exchange organized by Seattle-based Print Zero Studios arrives in Buffalo, Western New Yorkers will be able to reap the benefits of this cooperation. The exhibit, which has traveled from Seattle to Regina to Montreal, brings together 388 artists from 21 countries. The nearly 400 prints that resulted -- each a tidy 5-by-7 inches -- will be on display in UB's Visual Studies Gallery.
The show demonstrates a smorgasbord of printing techniques, including lithography, etching, woodcuts, intaglio and collagraph. The subjects are widely varied, from the light and whimsical to the political and sociological.
This print exchange started as a collaborative effort between Chicago-based printmaker Jeremy Cody and Brian Lane of Seattle. Each artist sent out calls for prints through a variety of channels -- print organizations, studios, co-ops, college and other educational programs, and online print communities.
Print Zero instructed artists to create one print in an edition of 15. There was no limit on what processes or subject matter to use. After the artists sent in 15 copies of their print, one was filed away for documentation, one retained for the exhibit, and the other 13 distributed randomly to the other participating artists. The only costs of participation were nominal shipping fees.
The distribution of the prints to other printmakers is just one of myriad purposes of the exchange, organizers said.
"Our mission is manifold," said Lane, a printmaker. "We hope to strengthen the print community in general, help artists to see, learn from, and collect work in their field, give their work more exposure and allow them to exhibit alongside other artists." Another prime goal of the project, Lane added, is to "make printmaking more approachable to the public and to give everyone a chance to be inspired by these widely varied, intriguing and beautiful works."
Highlights of this year's show include a wood engraving by Joshua Distler, a Seattle artist and architect, whose piece, "Pioneer Square Dawn," references a historic district of Seattle.
Jen Hines, a Chicago artist, contributed a relief digital print with string and ribbon, titled "Linked." International contributors include Jo Kelley from Cork, Ireland.
"This show is really a win-win for everyone," Lane said. "It helps UB printmaking students, who can see how the print world works. It helps draw interest from outside the department. Artists get exposure. Audiences get to see a lot of different [types] of ideas."
WHAT: "Print Zero Studios Print Exchange #6"
WHEN: Thursday through April 9; opening reception 7 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: Visual Studies Gallery, University at Buffalo Center for the Arts, UB North Campus, Amherst
INFO: 645-6878 or www.printzerostudios.com