SKIN aptly summarizes the U of A’s Centenary retrospective of one of their most celebrated Professor Emeriti, Walter Jule. As the first stop before hitting Hungary, Argentina, Oregon and Calgary, the works spanning both floors of FAB Gallery cover forty years of Jule’s career as a printmaker. Escalating his craft as well as the U of A’s international reputation as a leading printmaking centre, Jule represented the glory years of arts in Alberta.
In 2008, the works created during that era still resonate with each passing viewer. Jewels brought back into the public eye include “Reflection on Darkness” (1976) as an exemplification of his penchant for fusing the graphic with its alchemy, pushing light into a cutting ripple across its own shadow. The luminescent Untitled pieces from “The Killing Room Series” (1980 and on) begin to explore self referentially, breaking the frame of its plates, reveling in the complexity of different materials used and revealing traces of its own process.
The number of print and graphic based marketing posters in this retrospective also signals a time when graphic designers had greater freedom to communicate their art, when marketing still meant an opportunity to creatively seduce a viewer’s attention--and to not jar us from the mass produced numbing repetition. In a sense that is the very essence of printmaking, as there can be an infinite number of slightly differentiating reproductions made, but only one original design can exist.