Great things are happening down on Martha Street.
Housed at 11 Martha St., the Manitoba Printmakers’ Association is currently showcasing a selection of works created over the past year at the beautiful studio in the theatre district.
Aptly named New Work, the exhibition features 20 pieces by local artists and members of the association and studio, both amateur and professional. Coordinated by professional programming coordinator Suzie Smith, the works were chosen by a selection committee, and feature a wide range of mediums and techniques.
“There’s screen printing, mono print, lithography, digital printing, linocut and combinations of all those different techniques as well,” Smith says.
“It’s basically celebrating the work that’s been done at the studio over the past year,” she adds regarding the show’s overarching theme. “There’s a range of different stuff, it’s a total mix, but I think it goes together.”
The exhibit opened on March 2. Smith says the event was a great success.
“It was the first time we had tagged on to the First Fridays (the monthly “first of the month” Exchange gallery and café event series), and so we marketed ourselves as the first stop for First Fridays.
“(There was a) great turn out, and I think people in the community were excited to see so many local people’s work all up at once.”
All of the works are very striking, hanging on the stark white walls in the brightly lit space.
The collection includes works by Scott Benesiinaabandan, an Anishinabe artist based in Winnipeg and Toronto who works in photography, printmaking and video, among other media.
It also features works by Lisa Wood, Richard Dyck, Robert Pasternak and, new to the scene, Lisa Jorgenson.
Jorgensen, 25, is a recent graduate of the fine arts program at the University of Manitoba. She enjoys working on graphic novels, and her work that is featured in the exhibition is a screen-printed graphic novel featuring the character of Sabrina in an original story.
“Screen printing a graphic novel is a big process,” Jorgensen says. “It involves a lot of time and energy, but it’s worth all the work in the end. That’s when you can hold it in your hands and say, ‘I made all of this with my bare hands!’ It’s infinitely more satisfying than printing it with an offset printer.
“When you commit to your craft you have to accept the challenges and hard work that comes with it. It’s like running a marathon. I definitely plan on printing more in the future.”
Jorgensen began classes at Martha Street Studio a few years ago, and says she loved the studio from the beginning.
“The atmosphere is relaxed and the creative people who come in and out are amazing. The staff has always been wonderful to me. They make you feel welcome and encouraged when you’re there. I have grown so much as an artist since I started going there, and have met some truly talented and driven individuals.”
Jorgensen hopes to compile a large body of work over the next year at the studio so that she can hold her own show within the space.
New Work runs until April 6, Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 11 Martha St. Admission is free. Visit www.printmakers.mb.ca or call 204-779-6253 for more information.
Published in Volume 66, Number 23 of The Uniter (March 14, 2012)