“BANK” from the “Upswept Floors” series, in collaboration with Leslie Lyons.
The exhibition PRESS: Artist and Machine will connect the human action of pressing and applying pressure on the one hand, to the weight and power of the machine press on the other. Through photos, books, prints, sculptures, and contemporary art installations KMAC will examine a series of labor processes that have informed and shaped our surrounding culture for centuries. Anchoring the show is an exploration of the historical use of the printing press and it’s ongoing relationship to art, music, literature, and material culture. The earliest printing presses were inextricably linked to the growth of new economic and information systems. These devices helped build communities by creating cultural material that could be distributed and shared with the general public. As individualized practices developed from within printing houses, the operation of such machines began to be regarded as a craft, introducing the subsequent trades and traditions of typesetting, lithography, bookbinding, graphic design, typography, illustration and print-making.
It is from this formative relationship that, through the publication of important compositions, scripts and academic journals, the machine press became the foundation of a society that produced great literary masterpieces, and helped promote the emerging achievements in music, theater and cinema.
Our experience and interaction with the world has been altered by the dawn of the information age and the rise of a globalized digital culture. Technology has always been a mediator between art and message: and printing presses have been central to this paradigm for centuries, establishing the structures by which we share and experience culture. We are now almost entirely formed by online social media. Embodied within this paradigm shift is the decline in the need for physical product and the disappearance of hand-wrought objects that were designed to show the breadth and depth of shared, localized experiences.
KMAC examines the current state of material production in the digital age through a focus on the production of cultural objects from both the artist and the machine press. PRESS also looks at how contemporary artists from multiple disciplines have used the printing press as a medium for expression, expanding their artistic practice into the making of multiples and engaging with the commercial structures of the printing press industry.
Machine presses from the surrounding area will be invited to showcase their printed items along side the tools of their trade. KMAC will feature the work of Kentucky writers and poets who have collaborated with area presses to design, typeset, bind and press by hand, editions of their work using 19th century letterpress technology.
Artists included: Kinji Akagawa, Anvil Press, Polly Apfelbaum, Baskerville Press, William Blake, Contre Coup Press, Susanna Crum, Santiago Cucullu, Steven Ford, Helen Frankenthaler, Hound Dog Press, King Library Press, Ben Kinmont, Larkspur Press, Thaniel Ion Lee, Leslie Lyons & JB Wilson, Jaydan Moore, William Morris, Virginia Poundstone, Joanne Price, Letitia Quesenberry, Quonset Hut, David Shapiro, Stamperia del Santuccio, and John Whitesell