More than 80 artists from close to 30 countries will have work in the first-ever Edmonton Print International September 26 to October 17 in the city’s Capital Art Gallery and at satellite locations such as SNAP Gallery and the University of Alberta. Selected through a combined curatorial process and open juried competition — the jury included Tetsuya Noda from Japan, Belgium’s Maurice Pasternak, and Canadian print artist Davida Kidd, more than 1,200 works were submitted.
The point is to present both the art and the technique behind printmaking. Artist Walter Jule, general secretary for the EPI, says that traditional printmaking will be shown alongside contemporary digital techniques, and print-based sculptures, installations, and video projections, book plate miniatures, digital murals, and fabric.
Born from the remnants of 2002’s TrueNorth Biennial, EPI 2008 has been growing in momentum, in large part because of Jule. Edmonton, and particularly alumni and faculty of the Fine Arts program at the University of Alberta, have done particularly well in international competitions and awards during the past 30 years. The city’s print community has participated in international exchanges for decades, but this show will bring together the breadth of contemporary international printmaking into one setting. The EPI jury will award $30,000 in prizes during the show.
There are at least 50 print biennials around the world, most of them in Europe, and EPI hopes to fill a gap in North America. “I compare the development of printmaking to weather patterns,” says Jule. “A new movement starts in one place and it flows around the world, partly because of these kinds of shows.”
*First published in Galleries West, Vol. 7, Issue 3, Fall/Winter 2008.