Coronavirus may have put the kibosh on visits to the Big Apple, but Friends from New York are still coming to Braidwood next month - an exhibition by seven of the States' leading printmakers.
"Art is more important than ever - we need a lift to our spirits," fYREGALLERY owner and director Cheryl Hannah said. "This exhibition brings together a variety of printmaking styles, including colour, etchings, aquatints, linocuts, and woodcuts. Showcasing all that is best about art-making on paper, the works are beautiful and affordable."
UPDATE: The exhibition will be online only from April 3. Due to coronavirus restrictions, the gallery will not open its doors to the public. "I feel very sad about it," Cheryl said, "but I will try my best to keep going as a business." Visit www.fyregallery.com.
The seven artists - Linda Adato, Michael Arike, Michael Di Cerbo, Robert Kipniss, Merle Perlmutter, DeAnn L. Prosia, Emily Trublood - are all members of the Society of American Graphic Artists (SAGA), the longest-running society of printmakers in the United States, and many are extremely famous over there.
While the printmakers are all her personal friends, Cheryl said, they also consider themselves friends of this country. They will donate a share of sales from the work to Bill and Lesley Waterhouse's Majors Creek Wombat Sanctuary to help wildlife recovery after the summer bushfires.
"It's unusual for New Yorkers to offer to support things," Cheryl said, "but as soon as I got there in February, they all asked: What can we do? We want to help. The bushfires had made the news in America every day, and they were really worried about the gallery and the local district. I gave them various options about what to support, and they fell in love with the images of the little wombats Lesley and Bill look after."
This is the second time these artists have shown their work in Braidwood. fYREGALLERY hosted SAGA's members' exhibition in 2010 - the organisation's first show in the Southern Hemisphere.
"I had a message yesterday from an American artist, Nick Patten, to say: 'Congratulations! What a coup to have these wonderful printmakers again in Braidwood.'"
The works, Cheryl said, include old favourites, like views of the Chrysler building and the Brooklyn Bridge but also some edgier works exploring sites of urban life from the streets.
Robert Kipniss, now in his nineties, is one of the grand old men of printmaking; four vintage prints of his are in the show.
Merle Perlmutter is another well-respected printmaker in New York. "Her work is quite influential in that it's technically astoundingly proficient, but also she's a very experimental printmaker," Cheryl said. "I have some of her more challenging works in this show, as well as a couple of ones that are just delightfully decorative... This is work that student and early career printmakers should definitely come and see."
Linda Adato, based in Brooklyn, has a masterful use of colour, Cheryl believes. "She does really beautiful but small landscapes, usually drawn from the New York landscape around her."
Michael Arike is an exponent of the iconic buildings of New York. A print of the Chrysler building has already gone, Cheryl said. "As soon as I put the image up online today to talk about the show, I got an email from somebody saying please put a red dot on it. Her work sells really fast because people recognize the images, and a lot of people who love New York love that cityscape."
DeAnn L. Prosia is president of SAGA; a younger printmaker, her work is gaining a big audience in America. "She's winning prizes, kicking goals," Cheryl said. "Her work is very technically detailed - usually etchings and monocolor (black and white) - not as decorative, but definitely very powerful." Cheryl expects her Under the Elevated Railway to get quite a lot of interest.
Michael Di Cerbo is famous for his ability to look down from above; he's an exponent of views from tall buildings in built environments. "Someone described his work as vertiginous," Cheryl said. "Michael's prints, even though you're standing in front of them, and they're 2-D images, do give you that slight frisson of vertigo."
Emily Trublood produces very beautiful linoprints, and her peers recognize her as a very good colorist. "Both she and Linda Adato have that ability to manipulate colour in printmaking with extraordinary facility," Cheryl said. Trublood's work is often snowscapes, and Cheryl has a couple for the show.
fYREGALLERY specialises in fine art on paper, Cheryl said, and shows very high quality work at a reasonably affordable price.
"This exhibition is a great opportunity to share the best of the best in a local regional gallery, and give people a chance to see things they may not otherwise get an opportunity to see. Most of the works in this show will be less than $1500; you cannot buy that quality of work in painting at that price."
The gallery holds two exhibitions each year; its November exhibition will be Eyecatcher, by Australian painter and printmaker Ian Henderson, a former Braidwood resident. The collages are perhaps the last big body of work the artist will ever make; specially commissioned for the exhibition, they showcase his memories of places he's been and loved in Britain and Australia.
Friends from New York: 7 NYC Printmakers will be online (www.fyregallery.com) from Friday April 3.