Sarah Komanapalli | Editor in Chief

The 19th Sixty Square Inches Small Print Exhibition has come to a close at the Fountain Gallery. Artwork reflecting the state of printmaking in North America were put on display; the size restriction serves to cultivate an intimate experience for visitors.

The exhibit was juried by Liz Erlewine and Monika Meler. Erlewein is the director and head curator of Purdue University Galleries and Meler is an associate professor art and graphic design for the University of the Pacific in California. Erlewine earned an MFA in Studio Art at Purdue and Meler received an MA at Purdue, followed by an MFA at Temple University.

Printmaking experienced increased popularity after the mid-20th century, with artists pushing the limits of material and methodology in their art. Many technical breakthroughs were made, further expanding the possibilities for this art form.

“Purdue University Galleries has a very rich history in showing and collecting prints by contemporary artists,” said Erlewine on WBAA News. She continued that the exhibition “is an open juried call where artists are invited to submit prints created with all sorts of processes and the only major constraint is that they have to be small.”

Every other year, Purdue hosts a guest juror to help select art for the exhibition. “It just so happened that Purdue alumna Monika Meler was going to be back at Purdue for a solo exhibition in the Rueff Galleries,” said Erlewine. “Since she was going to be in the area and is such an expert in her field we invited her to help jury this exhibition.”

Juried shows are common nowadays and can be organized in different ways. “Most of our opportunities happen all online now,” stated Erlewine. For the Sixty Square Inches exhibition, Erlewine and Meler viewed the images online and made selections. Erlewine explained that “when you’re making selections you’re thinking about the physical space in which the works are going to be exhibited as well as the audience.”

Seeing how printmaking has evolved is a fascinating part of the long running exhibition. “This show actually happens every other year so I guess we’ve been doing this for almost 40 years,” said Erlewine. “It’s interesting to see trends and shifts that happen within the medium over the years.”

If you missed Sixty Square Inches this year, look out for it in Spring 2020!

Jenna Sarabia, “Untitled,” 2017, linocut on Thai kozo, 5.5 x 9 in.

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