reThink INK Press Release

reThink INK: 25 Years at Mixit Print Studio Exhibition Opens at the Boston Public Library
Large-scale exhibition of contemporary prints celebrates local artists

BOSTON – April 3, 2012 – Old meets new in the vibrant exhibition reThink INK: 25 Years at Mixit Print Studio, which opens at the Boston Public Library (BPL) on Thursday, April 12.

Long a collector of the finest examples of Boston printmaking, the Boston Public Library continues its support of local artists through this showcase of new and intriguing pieces. The reThink INK exhibition is so large – more than 150 distinctive pieces – that it will be installed in three locations across the nearly one million square feet of the BPL’s Central Library in Copley Square. Newly-created, never-before exhibited works of art will hang in the Boston Public Library’s McKim Building, which opened in 1895, along with pieces from the Mixit Print Studio’s distinguished twenty-five-year history.

Mixit Print Studio was established in 1987 on the ground floor of the former Mixit soap factory in Somerville, Massachusetts. Thousands of prints by talented area printmakers have rolled through the presses of Mixit Print Studio in the last quarter century. Original partners Jane Goldman and Catherine Kernan were joined in 2010 by third partner Randy Garber.

“The opportunity to mount an exhibition of this scale, ambition, and complexity organized by a group of artists, and supported by an institution such as the Boston Public Library is unprecedented in the history of printmaking in Boston. The library staff grasped our vision for the show and have been wonderful partners in bringing it to fruition. As we see the space taking shape, and the parts and pieces coming into alignment, we know that it will be an amazing exhibition, and a tribute to the hard work of an extended community of dedicated artists connected with Mixit Print Studio,” said Kernan.

Several of the artists were inspired by the Boston Public Library’s support of their work, and have submitted a constellation of pieces that draw from elements of the library’s architecture and collections. Heddi Siebel and Debra Olin have used the columns of the BPL’s Changing Exhibits Gallery to further develop themes that currently are central to their work. Thad Beal and Ted Ollier have created installations that celebrate the library’s landmark McKim Building. Ilana Manolson’s interest in the connection between “roots” and “routes” led her to combine roots acquired from the Arnold Arboretum and images from maps in the collection of the BPL’s Norman B. Leventhal Map Center.

The BPL 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 link continued through the tenure of Sinclair Hitchings, who built the Boston Public 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).

“The Boston Public Library continues to build on its tradition of supporting Boston artists and sharing their work with the public. For twenty-five years, Mixit Print Studio has provided intellectual and artistic nourishment for many of this current generation of Boston printmakers. We are fortunate to own and proud to present some of the finest examples of their work,” said Karen Shafts, the Boston Public Library’s Assistant Keeper of Prints.

The more than 150 pieces in the exhibition are divided into four components and will be on display in three locations in the Central Library in Copley Square.

  • Portfolio. The reThink INK Portfolio is a collaborative project artists created specifically for this exhibition. The final boxed set of 66 prints will enter the permanent collection of the Boston Public Library.
  • 25 Years: A Juried Exhibition. Karen Shafts, Assistant Keeper of Prints at the Boston Public Library, selected 44 prints from approximately 200 works submitted by artists who at some time worked at Mixit Print Studio.
  • Installations. Printmaking artists have expanded the medium to encompass multi-dimensional projects or installations that incorporate a wide range of ideas and approaches and move printmaking off the wall and into three dimensions. Thirteen of these will be on display.
  • The BPL Collection. The Boston Public Library’s exceptional collection of works by Boston artists is the foundation of this section of the exhibition. Shafts chose 32 works created by members of Mixit Print Studio from the library’s holdings to showcase the collection’s strength and the BPL’s sustained support of Boston-area artists.

reThink INK: 25 Years at Mixit Print Studio will be on display in the Central Library in Copley Square in the Johnson Lobby, the Changing Exhibits Gallery, and the Wiggin Gallery through July 31, 2012. For detailed gallery hours, visit www.bpl.org/general/hours.htm.

The web page www.bpl.org/mixit will include digital galleries of selected artwork, information on exhibiting artists, and details of events related to the exhibition, including a panel on Tuesday, April 24, at 6 p.m. titled “ reThink INK: Impact and Innovation in Contemporary Printmaking.”