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From Stone to Silicone: The Future of Printmaking with Michael Menchaca & Maggie Denk-Leigh
May 31 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Printmaking has always been based on technology and innovation. From the advent of woodcut prints in Imperial China, to the revolution of stone lithography and the speed of digital reproduction, artists have continued to push the boundaries of this historic medium.
But how has the technology of printmaking evolved? And what current digital innovations are shaping the print world today? On Wednesday, May 31st, 7:00 – 8:00pm, join the Artists Archives for From Stone to Silicone: The Future of Printmaking. Featuring renowned printmaker Michael Menchaca and print expert Professor Maggie Denk-Leigh, the virtual program will provide a fascinating overview of the evolution of fine art printing and look to its future through Menchaca’s sizzling digitally and socially engaged work.
In an exhilarating, fast-paced format, Cleveland Institute of Art’s Printmaking Department Chair Maggie Denk-Leigh will trace the development of the medium from its emergence to the 20th century. As she describes, “Influencing culture for centuries, printmaking embraces, utilizes, and challenges technology. While invention has certainly influenced methods of print, the artist is responsible for altering print processes to speak to new ideas. Print reinvention can be traced across continents and through time.”
Combining Mesoamerican imagery and the buzz of 16-bit graphics, interdisciplinary Xicanx artist Michael Menchaca blends traditional printmaking with new media to challenge colonialism and consumer culture. Rich with animations, videos, and virtual augmentation, Menchaca’s immersive installations also push back against the notion that digital technology is beneath the realm of fine art.
As Menchaca describes, “I like to indicate that the needle is moving towards accepting digital world building practices. The advent of printing digital files from a digital drawing tablet or a digital illustrator file means I’m free to use gradients and things that would be more difficult to print in a traditional print practice… Early on in printmaking as a student we were socialized to think of digital prints as lesser art forms…that is something interesting that I would like to raise.”
From Stone to Silicone: The Future of Printmaking with Michael Menchaca & Maggie Denk-Leigh will be held exclusively online and will conclude with a live audience Q&A.
About Michael Menchaca: Michael Menchaca (they/them) is an interdisciplinary Queer Xicanx / non-binary millennial artist using print media and new media formats to generate anti-colonial, anti-racist, and anti-capitalist visions of the world. As a Mexican-American born and raised in San Antonio, TX—a community with colonial roots in military and civil policing practices—Menchaca registers the perspective of a caste oppressed polity struggling to break free from historical patterns of cruelty by neo-colonial ascendancy. Like many Tejanxs, they are constantly mediating the internalized racist, ableist, and gendered myths embedded in them by the legacy of white supremacy in the Americas. Menchaca regards their art production as an ongoing practice of decolonial resistance and as a repudiation of the industrial violence work contributing to the destruction of sustainable life on madre tierra. Their vector-based imagery blends the framework of ancient Mesoamerican Codices, European Bestiaries, and Japanese Video Games with the seductive, attention-seeking interfaces of Big Data Technologies. Menchaca creates multimedia installations that apply a combination of printmaking, painting, and digital animation, exploring Latinx/Latiné identities in a hyper-mediated American landscape.
Menchaca received their Associate degree from San Antonio College in 2007, their BFA from Texas State University in 2011, and their MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2015. They have been an artist-in-residence at the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in Maine; The Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, MA; Vermont Studio Center, the Wassaic Project, NY; the Segura Arts Studio, Notre Dame, IN; the Serie Project at Coronado Studios, Austin, TX; and The Studios at MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA. Their art is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, D.C., U.S. Library of Congress, D.C., El Museo Del Barrio, NY, Detroit Institute of Arts, MI, Princeton University Art Museum, NJ, San Antonio Museum of Art, TX, and The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, AR. Exhibitions of their work have taken place at The Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA; The Lawndale Art Center, Houston, TX; and The International Print Center New York. They are one-half of the artist collective Dos Xicanx. In 2021, the US Latinx Art Forum (USLAF) in collaboration with the New York Foundation for the Arts and supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation awarded Menchaca the Latinx Artist Fellowship.
About Maggie Denk-Leigh: Maggie Denk-Leigh is an Associate Professor and the Printmaking Department Chair at the Cleveland Institute of Art in Cleveland, Ohio. She teaches in Visual Arts, courses in lithography, etching, screenprint, relief and digital print. She oversees a letterpress studio and a book arts course. Denk-Leigh is a founding board member, and the current President of the Board at the Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory & Educational Foundation, a hand papermaking and book arts center in Cleveland, Ohio. Denk-Leigh’s work has recently been exhibited at the Artist Archive of the Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio, the Museum of Natural History and Culture in Knoxville, Tennessee; the Shaker Historical Museum in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and the Freedman Gallery at Albright College, in Reading, Pennsylvania. She has contributed several works to support the ongoing EVAC Project. In 2017, her participation in Xi’An 4th International Printmaking Workshop Exhibition, established a relationship with the faculty and students at the Xi’An Academy of Fine Art, and culminated with an exhibition at the Lab Centre Exhibition Hall in Shaanxi Province, China, with more than two dozen international artists and printmakers. Denk-Leigh received her BA from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio and MFA in Printmaking from Clemson University in South Carolina.