Despite the continuing trials of a global pandemic, Jundt Art Museum at Gonzaga University remains wholly committed to bringing beautiful and thought-provoking art to as many students as possible.
The current exhibition of printmaking on display at Jundt Art Musem is that of MATRIX Press, founded by Professor James Bailey of University Montana-Missoula. The show features work by contemporary masters of the printmaking arts, while showcasing the rich history behind the varied styles of printmaking.
The relationship between GU and MATRIX press is a long-standing history of collaboration and artistic cooperation.
“Jundt Art Museum has a very good relationship with the University of Montana, we’ve purchased prints from them before, and their students have come up here to look at various projects in the collection,” said Karen Kaiser, curator of education at Jundt Art Museum. “We already had a relationship, but it was just an idea that came up. It’s probably been three years since we started talking about whether or not the museum would be interested in doing something like this.”
Students can learn about the wide varieties of printmaking techniques utilized in the MATRIX studio as well as view the tools used and behind-the-scenes photographs.
In addition to unique prints, faculty at Jundt Art Museum are very excited to be exhibiting original matrices or templates for many of the prints on display.
Matrices are often destroyed after original inscription by the artist, thus obtaining original templates for galleries can be difficult. Kaiser said this process is incredibly fruitful for this exhibition.
Printmaking is a medium frequently utilized to make impactful statements on politics and culture. MATRIX exhibition is no exception, featuring prints that engage in new ways with themes of politics, culture and society.
MATRIX specifically encourages collaborative work between students and masters of printmaking. Many prints were produced with the help of students, giving those involved the unique opportunity of thoughtful discourse on the significance of each print.
Here at GU, students always have the chance to engage with printmaking at any desired level. With one of the largest print studios in the region, printmaking faculty work diligently to pass on printmaking to the next generation of printers.
Kaiser said students who wish to be involved in printmaking could do so even without necessarily taking a class.
“The museum has a very rich and extensive print collection, we have close to 6,000 works now on paper from very historical old prints like Rembrandts, up to even very recent contemporary expressionist works,” Kaiser said. “even if students don’t have the opportunity to take a class they can always make an appointment, and I’d be happy to bring out prints that [students] would like to see.”
While recent times have certainly made it more difficult to appreciate artistic expression in person, Jundt Art Museum faculty have made certain a safe and healthy environment is maintained for all who wish to visit.
“The museum closed to the public on March 13 per state and local health mandates, and that was sadly the final day for two exhibitions in the spring we were proud of,” said Paul Manoguerra, lead curator of the art museum in an email. “Museum staff continued to monitor the building and the collection, and to work on projects, throughout the shutdown… We have been permitted to re-open to the GU community by appointment only and with mask and social distancing restrictions and hope to soon re-open to the public under the same guidelines.”
The Jundt Museum, like many institutions affected by recent COVID-19 guidelines, has found creative ways to maximize healthy practices and minimize the spread of the disease.
As of Sept. 1 the museum is open to students and faculty by appointment. Tours will be limited to five people or less and occur between the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on weekdays.
Zags can even request a guided tour with staff in order to dive deeper behind the showcased creations to gain better understanding of the skill and effort required to produce such unique works.
“This show really provides that educational aspect, as well as being a beautiful and graphically striking show with lots of different perceptions and materials,” Kaiser said. “Printmaking is kind of the people’s art, this show lends itself to that and maybe you don’t have a background with printmaking, but this show can help make those connections visible, between the art and the message.”