JONESBORO — Bradbury Art Museum (BAM) at Arkansas State University announces the 27th year of Delta National Small Prints Exhibition (DNSPE), alongside a solo exhibition by interdisciplinary printmaker Lauren Kussro, with their opening reception set for 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16.
The exhibitions continue through March 29 at BAM, located in Fowler Center, 201 Olympic Dr.
“Delectable Garden” is an exhibition of printmaking, sculpture, and installation by Kussro, who is Houston-based. She creates richly detailed surfaces that feature an array of jewel-like colors, so that each piece is a visual feast — a confection for the eyes. Her creative process is centered on a playful investigation of the natural world, and she uses her materials in ways that test the boundaries of what printmaking can be.
Delta National Small Prints Exhibition
Founded in 1996, “Delta National Small Prints Exhibition” is an annual juried print exhibition that features prominent contemporary printmakers from around the world. It has become one of the country’s foremost competitions for prints.
The exhibition is meant to be a resource for printmaking students and instructors to view and assess contemporary standards of printmaking as they develop over time. The maximum size for entries, for instance, has grown over the years as the definition of small print has evolved.
DNSPE has also grown in size and renown. This year, BAM received applications from six nations and 42 U.S. states. DNSPE remains central to the museum’s identity as an institution.
“It is an incredible gift that has been left to us by Evan Lindquist and the other founders,” says Madeline McMahan, registrar and preparator at Bradbury Art Museum. “In places all over the world, DNSPE is the way in which many discover BAM.”
This exhibition allows BAM to engage with artists from all over the world, just as it has allowed the museum’s audience to experience both national and international contemporary printmaking each year over the course of the last 27 years.
The longevity of DNSPE has allowed audiences to witness new developments in the discipline as they are happening. It can be fascinating to come see the variety of prints in person year after year, but also to compare them to the forms that DNSPE took as far back as its first year in 1996.
Both recent and early years of the exhibition are archived on the Bradbury Art Museum website.
Because this exhibition is designed to be a survey of contemporary printmaking in many forms, there are very few restrictions on what artists may submit. DNSPE thus plays host to both traditional and experimental forms of printmaking. Copper engravings and lithographs arrive alongside burned monotypes and prints on lenticular media. The show also welcomes both established and emerging artists — from students beginning their work in print to master printers, some who have been with DNSPE from the start.
A juror reviews all submissions to DNSPE and selects which ones will be exhibited. The annual change in juror enables a broad perspective of contemporary printmaking, as each juror’s eye contributes something different to this exhibition.
This year’s juror was Jenn Bratovich, director of exhibitions and programming at Print Center New York. Print Center New York (formerly known as International Print Center New York) is a non-profit exhibition space in New York dedicated to the exploration of printmaking.
“Expecting the unexpected and happy accidents — both concepts are intimately understood by printmakers,” noted Jenn Bratovich after examining this year’s submissions. “In jurying this exhibition, I tried to stay open to possibility, as one might approaching the acid bath, or pressing the squeegee into contact with the screen — or in the swelling moment just before the first glimpse at a fresh print.”
BAM strives to give back to the artists who contribute to this exemplary exhibition by purchasing a large portion of the show to add to their permanent collection, but it would not be possible without the support of patrons who provide purchase prizes and exhibition support each year. This encapsulates the artwork and preserves its history for viewers and students to enjoy for years to come.
“It is thanks to financial gifts from local and regional donors that DNSPE has continued to thrive over the last twenty-seven years,” McMahan added. “Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to everyone who has allowed us to continue this exhibition; your impact is not felt only at BAM, but also by the artists whose work is able to enter our permanent collection through your donations.”
Each exhibition is represented in a yearly catalog, documenting history and including statements from each juror explaining their decision-making process.
DNSPE viewing hours are 12 p.m.–5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Admission is free. For more information about Bradbury Art Museum or to learn how to support future exhibitions, one may call the museum at (870) 972-3765.
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