From the moment Catherine Kernan, Jane Goldman, and Randy Garber approached me about collaborating on an exhibition in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Mixit Print Studio, I thought it was important that the Boston Public Library be a partner in this project. The Library has had a connection to the Boston printmaking community since the 1940s when Arthur Heintzelman, a renowned American etcher, was appointed the first Keeper of Prints. That connection continued through the tenure of Sinclair Hitchings, who built the library’s collection of works of art on paper by Boston artists and who, in collaboration with Mixit, produced the exhibition and catalogue Proof in Print: A Community of Printmaking Studios (2001), which celebrated Artist’s Proof and its successor studios. Since the founding of Mixit in 1987, it has played a central role in the development and promotion of printmaking in Boston.
Sixty-six artists contributed prints to the 25th anniversary portfolio. Some of the artists, including Heddi Siebel, Nona Hershey, and Joel Janowitz, have been members of Mixit for many years. Others, including Robin Boger, Karen Falkoff, and Valda Zalkalns, have recently begun their associations with Mixit. The prints show the diversity of artistic vision and approach to media characteristic of the Mixit community. At the same time, they maintain the high level of technical quality that is also a Mixit characteristic. The portfolio will be an important addition to the library’s collection and a worthy companion to the Mixit Print Studio Portfolio that was part of Proof in Print.
Selecting work for the juried section of the exhibition was exciting, but challenging as well. Although, because of space constraints, it was possible to select only 44 works from the approximately 200 prints submitted, I felt privileged to have the opportunity to review all the submissions. Fen by Karen Falkoff, Magical Visions: Li River #6 by Prilla Brackett, and Drift #1 by Wendy Prellwitz explore landscape on a monumental scale. Sarah Shallbetter’s print Untitled (Figure) explores the human figure by reducing it to its essential elements, while Jackie Miller’s The Anxious Ones 4 explores our emotions. Beth Galston’s print Drilled explores materials, process, and mark making— elements that have formed the core concerns of printmakers for the last 600 years.
Installed with the juried works are prints from the library’s collection by 18 artists who have been associated with Mixit. Produced between 1981 and 2001, the prints attest to the history of diversity, creativity, and technical expertise that have been the hallmark of Mixit for the last 25 years. The studio continues to welcome new members attracted by its atmosphere of exploration and collaboration.