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CURRENT COLUMN

Visual Artists as Entrepreneurs and Marketers
September 2013
Visual Artists as Entrepreneurs and Marketers

Audain Art Museum
June 2013
Siting an Art Museum in a Forest

Gordon Smith Gallery
November 2012
Boosting the Profile of Artists for Kids

Equinox
September 2012
From glacial meltwater to contemporary art

Morris & Helen Belkin Gallery
June 2012
Professional curators of contemporary art were once as scarce as hen's teeth

Equinox Gallery
April 2012
Gallery owners have their eye on East Vancouver

Equinox Gallery
February 2012
Gallery owners have their eye on East Vancouver

Jacana Gallery
November 2011
Nothing is certain but death and taxes

Satellite Gallery
September 2011
Hope springs eternal


June 2011
The Hotel Waldorf
reimagined


April 2011
Education for the eye,
soul and mind


February 2011
Fine art inkjet prints
are here to stay


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SAAG endows the old
with new possibilities

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Gallery Views

Tomoyo Ihaya, Pump Station

Tomoyo Ihaya, Pump Station (2010), varied (unique) edition of 5, mixed media on inkjet print, 17“ x 22“

Fine-art digital inkjet prints are here to stay

By ANN ROSENBERG

Rembrandt was among the first to perfect fine art limited edition prints in the mediums of etching, aquatint and engraving which allowed collectors to possess his work at substantially less cost than if they’d bought a painting. A print of Rembrandt’s Christ Preaching to the Multitude, also known as the Hundred Guilder Print, was relatively expensive – worth approximately 9 British Pounds Sterling at the time. Connoisseurs had no objection to paying this much for a signed and numbered etching by a famous artist who had worked on it from start to finish and for whom printmaking was a serious avocation.

Rembrandt would be shocked at the current art market’s saturation with huge numbers of highly expensive full-colour off-set printed lithographs, serigraphs and digital reproductions that purport to be valuable fine art prints mainly because they are signed and dated by well-known artists.

Digitally-based multiples called giclées have been the target of strenuous criticism in recent years. The term giclée (from the French for nozzle) was first coined by Jack Duganne in Los Angeles, California in 1991 to refer to the process of making a fine art image from a digital source created by computer controlled sprays of pigment on paper, canvas, and any other surface that ink will adhere to. Over time, the chic and intentionally obscure word has been replaced by more down-to-earth descriptions like archival inkjet digital prints. Many artists all over the world are using this technique to make editions of their work, and if quality archival materials are used and the image is not exposed to direct light, the inkjets are expected to last 75-100 years. Whether such images are works of art and not merely mechanical copies is a complex issue that cannot be resolved here.

Vancouver artist Fred Herzog’s full-colour inkjets, in editions of 20, are selected from the thousands of urban moments he’s documented on camera since immigrating to Canada in 1953. In referencing Herzog's work, Andy Sylvester, director of the Equinox Gallery, has remarked that there is no original to sell as you can’t put a slide or a digital file in a frame on a wall. A February 1, 2007 press release from Fidelis Printmaking states that over 500 hours went into digital scanning, remastering and printing images in preparation for Herzog's major show and book that year. Herzog functioned as an "eyeballs-on", rather than "hands-on", art director of the project that began in 2004.

For a fee, companies like Fidelis can assist in making high-quality products to your specification. If you possess a high quality scanner and a recent printer with excellent colour-spray capacity, you can make your own small letter or legal-size images. Or, you can do a bit of both by utilizing the advice and services of a local artist like Michael C. Lawlor as you go along.

In her solo show opening at Art Beatus Gallery on February 11, Tomoyo Ihaya will include her first-ever limited edition inkjet prints, inspired by her Canada Council-funded project in South Asia in 2008/9. These will include several collage-like images in which digital documents selected from hundreds of her photographs are seamlessly amalgamated with translucent chine collé elements. For Herzog, the inkjet printing process is the most effective means of producing his art; for Ihaya, it is one of many ways to create an original work.

Ann Rosenberg is a freelance curator, critic

Fred Herzog, Mexico City Shoe Shine

Fred Herzog, Mexico City Shoe Shine (1963), edition of 20, chromogenic print, courtesy of Equinox Gallery

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