“Fire Down on the Labrador”

Went to see the retrospective of David Blackwood’s work at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria this past weekend: Black Ice: Prints from Newfoundland.  It was amazing to see so many of his prints in real life after following his work for so long.  The show had about 75 pieces from the 250 works that the AGO has in their collection.  I loved seeing a series of 11 drawings and prints that show some of the development of his most famous print “Fire Down on the Labrador”, as well as the actual copper etching plate.  David Blackwood was in attendance and gave an artist talk, highlighting some of the history and process behind his work, it was fascinating to see some of the historical photographs that have inspired him.  I loved hearing him say he figures you have to be “abnormal” to do etching as it is so incredibly demanding, this is true of many art forms and artists!  I also loved that after poring over his work for the afternoon, my friends and I had so much to discuss, and especially that we saw the beach, the water, the stones in etching textures for the rest of the afternoon…Image

Art show @ VAG

Hoping to get to see this show this weekend when I head over to Vancouver… (hmmm the pictures of his art aren’t showing here)

Art Spiegelman
CO-MIX: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics and Scraps
February 16 to June 9, 2013

Art Spiegelman
Self Portrait with Maus Mask, 1989
Courtesy of the Artist

Art Spiegelman
Study of the Cover of RAW no.7,
The Torn-Again Graphix Mag, c. 1985
mixed media
Courtesy of the Artist

CO-MIX: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics and Scraps, is the first retrospective exhibition of the acclaimed comic artist, Art Spiegelman, and includes examples from all facets of his diverse career. Tracing Spiegelman’s considerable artistic output, the exhibition features more than 400 preparatory drawings, sketches, studies and panels relating to his early underground “comix” from the 1970s, his best-known and genre-defying work, Maus, and his more recent illustrations and comic art, including his powerful response to 9/11, In the Shadow of No Towers.

Beginning with his time as an art teacher at the San Francisco Academy of Arts University in the late 1970s, when Spiegelman first came into contact with the underground comix scene led by Robert Crumb, the exhibition will include a selection of his contributions to the iconic Arcade magazine, which he co-published with Crumb and Bill Griffiths. These early pieces, among the first of his published works, offer a glimpse into his struggle to channel cultural commentary into biting, subversive comics. The publication of Breakdowns, in 1977, offered a retrospective view of Spiegelman’s interest in complex notions of narrative and styles of expression. Drawing on a wide range of artistic styles and strategies, he developed dynamic new ideas within the field of comics. For twenty years Spiegelman also worked as a writer, illustrator, art director, graphic designer and general idea man for Topps Bubblegum, producing trading cards, stickers and candy products for the popular Garbage Pail Kids and the Wacky Packages series.

A significant portion of the exhibition is devoted to Maus, the work that in its myriad forms has consumed the artist throughout his career. Published between 1978 and 1991, this autobiographical graphic novel juxtaposes Spiegelman’s father’s experience during the Second World War with an account of the strained relationship between father and son in the present. Spiegelman originally published sections of Maus in RAW, an influential magazine that he created and edited along with Francoise Mouly from 1980 to 1991. RAW included work by comic artists from around the world, many of whom would later receive considerable acclaim, and evidences Spiegelman’s skill as an editor. The exhibition includes research material, preliminary sketches, photographs and storyboards related to the production of Maus, along with designs, pages and publications that reveal RAW’s legacy. Spiegelman’s narrative and formal innovations in Maus would prove influential to an entire new generation of comic artists.

The final section of the exhibition considers Spiegelman’s production since the publication of Maus, including his commercial work for The New Yorker magazine, his Little Lit anthologies for children and his most recent book-length efforts, In the Shadow of No Towers and Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@?*!.

Art Spiegelman was born in Stockholm and immigrated with his family to Queens, New York in 1951. This is the first major exhibition of Spiegelman’s work since the MoMA exhibition of Maus in 1992.

Co-produced by the Vancouver Art Gallery; the Ludwig Museum, Cologne and the Jewish Museum, New York.

Lead Support:
The Arnold and Anita Silber Family Foundation Additional Support: Lohn Foundation Media Sponsor:
The Vancouver Sun