KANSAS CITY, Mo. (March 14, 2013) — Original lithography prints by about 20 junior- and senior-year printmaking students at the Kansas City Art Institute will be included in an exhibition of scientific lithography prints and rare books that will be on view from March 28 to Sept. 14 at the Linda Hall Library, 5109 Cherry St. An opening reception is planned for 6 p.m. March 28, to be followed by a 7 p.m. lecture.
“Our students were invited to intersect with the Linda Hall Library for an exhibition entitled ‘Crayon on Stone: Science Embraces the Lithograph, 1800-1899,’” said Laura Berman, associate professor of printmaking at KCAI. “The students were asked to examine the historical theme of the exhibition and respond with their own contemporary points of view in conversation with this theme. The themes encompass science, nature, travel, technology, documentation, landscape, journaling, maps, architecture, diagrams and more.
“This collaboration will enable a visual conversation between contemporary lithographic art by emerging artists/students and the conceptually and technically timeless works by masters of the medium,” Berman continued. “It is a great opportunity for our students to be part of this conversation with their own art, and it’s the first intersection of the Linda Hall Library and KCAI printmaking department at this level.”
In recognition of the exhibition and unusual partnership, the library has commissioned a KCAI student to create a unique image for the exhibition. Caitlin Peters, a senior majoring in printmaking at KCAI, will print a three-color lithograph on one of the largest stones in the KCAI print studio inventory. The printing process will be documented in video and with color separation proofs that depict each stage of printing. The video and the printing proofs will also be on display in the exhibition. A small stone from the KCAI inventory will also be included as part of the technical display component of the exhibition, Berman said.
Berman noted that students and faculty of the KCAI printmaking department are invited to all of the exhibition events that are planned in conjunction with this exhibition, including the opening reception. In addition, Linda Hall Library is planning a special reception for KCAI printmaking students and their colleagues during the second week of the show. At this reception, Lisa Browar, president of the library will announce prizes that will be awarded to students, including an award for “Best in Show.”
Detailed schedule of events:
Monday, March 25
8:30 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Students will install prints within the exhibition
Thursday, March 28
6 p.m. – evening opening reception – free and open to the public (including free parking)
7 p.m. – Lecture by Oliver Uberti, former senior design editor at National Geographic
Magazine. Uberti will “reveal the process of distilling stories into iconic images and show
why scientific illustration is as relevant in science today as it was for lithographers in the
19th century. The title of his talk is “Intersections – The Art of Science.”
To attend the opening reception and lecture, reservations are requested:
Thursday, April 4
5 to 6 p.m.
Special reception for KCAI students and their friends and family
Library president Lisa Browar announces “Best in Show” and presents award to KCAI student
Saturday, Sept. 14
Last day of exhibition
Exhibition summary (provided by Linda Hall Library):
Crayon on Stone: Science Embraces the Lithograph, 1800-1899
Around 1800, Alois Senefelder introduced a new printing technique called lithography. He printed from a polished block of limestone, instead of a copper plate or a wood block, and the resulting lithograph provided a new warmth and expressiveness that was difficult to achieve with an engraved plate or a woodcut. Science took to the new technique very quickly.
By 1830, Elizabeth Gould was making lithographs of birds for her husband John; John Richardson was publishing lithographs of Arctic animals discovered during the search for the Northwest passage; and Beer and Mädler were revealing new features of the moon in their large lithographed lunar map.
One of the greatest applications of lithography to scientific illustration was the portrayal of fossils. A fossil in its stony matrix is very difficult to reproduce with an engraving or a woodcut. But with lithography, one can use a crayon to perfectly duplicate the texture and appearance of stone. It is not surprising that when the first Compsognathus (a small dinosaur) skeleton was discovered in 1859, and the first Archetopteryx skeleton (the "first bird") in 1861, both were announced to the world in publications illustrated by large lithographs. The irony is that both fossils were found in the limestone quarries of Solnhofen, Bavaria, which also is the source of the world's finest lithographic stone. So in the end, we have limestone captured on limestone, a truly divine marriage.
By the middle of the century we find chromolithographs printed in several colors, and by the end of the century, we find 14-stone lithographs illustrating books of birds and butterflies. It was even possible to photograph directly onto a lithograph stone, and the resulting photolithograph has the realism of a photograph, but the durability and reproducibility of a lithograph.
This exhibit will display 80 years of scientific lithography, from the very first ever printed (the library has the first American scientific book with lithographs in its collections) to the end of the century. Many of the most stunning scientific illustrations ever printed are lithographs, and as many are being included as possible to create a visually stunning exhibition.
About the Linda Hall Library
The Linda Hall Library, the world’s largest privately funded library of science, engineering and technology, is located at 5109 Cherry St., Kansas City, Mo. The library, exhibition galleries and William N. Deramus III Cosmology Theater are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The exhibition galleries and William N. Deramus III Cosmology Theater also are openfrom 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the second Saturday of each month. For more information, visit http://www.lindahall.org/
About the Kansas City Art Institute
The Kansas City Art Institute is a private, independent four-year college of art and design awarding the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with majors in animation, art history, ceramics, digital filmmaking, digital media, fiber, graphic design, illustration, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and studio art with an emphasis on creative writing. The college also offers certificate programs in Community Arts and Service Learning and in Asian Studies for students enrolled in the B.F.A. program. KCAI hosts “Current Perspectives,” a free public lecture series; free exhibitions at the H&R Block Artspace gallery; and evening, weekend and summer classes in art, design, multimedia studies and desktop publishing for children, youth and adults. Founded in 1885, KCAI is Kansas City’s oldest arts organization. For more information, visit KCAI on the Web at www.kcai.edu
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