EVERETT — It is indeed a happy new year for people involved with the Schack Art Center.
In fact, 2016 could be the Schack’s most memorable year in its four-year history, with planned exhibitions that will likely put the Everett institution on the fine arts map of the West Coast.
This year, it’s all about prints at the Schack.
The biggest deal is the exhibit of Chuck Close prints coming in May. It will be only the second time the Snohomish County native’s printmaking works have been shown on the West Coast.
Close is best known as a painter and photographer who achieved international renown with his huge portraits that incorporate grids and intricate patterns to form realistic paintings. Many of the prints to be displayed in Everett have already been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan and in many other museums around the world.
“The Chuck Close exhibit focuses on his long history with printmaking and it provides a fantastic opportunity to celebrate print arts as a medium,” Shack gallery director Carie Collver said. “We wanted to surround it with other exhibits that highlight this art form and bring attention to the many forms of printmaking.”
To that end, the year starts out with a proverbial bang.
A show of prints by the iconic Northwest master painter Guy Anderson opens Jan. 7, as does a show of prints by women from Skagit County, where printmaking has seen a renaissance of sorts.
Elizabeth Brinton, a Schack print instructor and the featured artist in the Schack shop in January, said she is looking forward to the opening.
“Printmaking goes back to ancient times and expresses primal methods of image making,” Brinton said. “Something significant is happening when a print is being made: A sense of discovery of the infinite possibilities and a world unfolds.”
Since artists now have mechanized and digitized means of making words and images on paper, printmakers are freed to explore the old techniques in new ways, Brinton said.
“We are seeing a revival of letterpress and silkscreen in particular,” she said. “Many of us make prints not to have multiples of the same image, but rather to achieve a certain energy and a quality which comes through in the print and cannot be made any other way.
“In teaching, I always try to get the student past themselves and their preconceived ideas. The depth of the printmaking process provides a doorway to that. It is a great way to get unstuck and to dive in.”
“Skagit Women Print” includes 18 artists who live or work in Skagit Valley. They have joined together to produce a suite of original prints that focus on landscape and how the valley influences the artists’ own lives.
The contributors include printmakers, painters, poets, photographers and potters. Each artist produced an edition of 25 prints, drawing from a range of printmaking methods including linoleum block, wood block, solar plate etching, vitreograph, mezzotint, chine colle and serigraph.
The exhibit is curated by project organizer Natalie Niblack.
“In Skagit Valley, it is easy to be seduced by the incredible beauty and overlook the intrusions of how human habitation has manipulated that beauty to suit our needs,” Niblack said. “We love Skagit Valley, both the wild and the man-made. This suite of prints explores those contradictions and complex pressures through the eyes of women who live here.”
The “Skagit Women Print” artists are Jane Alynn, Jean Behnke, Eve Deisher, Heidi Epstein, Kathleen Faulkner, Jules Remedios Faye, Jessica Gigot, Kathryn Glowen, Nicolette Harrington, Theodora Jonsson, Ellen Jane Michael, Kris Ekstrand Molesworth, Natalie Niblack, Ann Chadwick Reid, Sue Roberts, Stella Spring, Twila Tate and Kristin Loffer Theiss.
In addition to the original suite of 18, the Schack exhibit also will feature works by friends of those involved in “Skagit Women Print.” Also curated by Niblack, the “And Friends” exhibit includes large steamroller prints and works by men, and will be displayed in the Schack’s new mezzanine gallery.
The exhibit of block prints by Guy Anderson will be featured in the main gallery.
“A Great Painter as Printmaker: The Block Prints of Guy Anderson” includes 28 wood block prints from “A Catalogue Raisonne of the Block Prints of Legendary Northwest Artist Guy Anderson,” as well as several large-scale, never-before-exhibited paintings.
Published in 2014 by Deryl Walls and Jase Ihler, the catalog was the first publication of the late Anderson’s work in 28 years. It documents his process with color images of his block prints. Walls, the executor of Anderson’s estate, said the intent was to preserve access for institutions and collectors.
Anderson was born in Edmonds in 1906. He grew up there and studied privately with Eustace Paul Ziegler, who was renowned for his Alaska paintings and became part of the budding art scene in Seattle in the mid-1920s. However, Anderson was primarily a self-taught artist, his paintings are usually termed abstract expressionist.
During the Great Depression, Anderson and fellow modern artists Kenneth Callahan, Morris Graves and Mark Tobey were given jobs by the Seattle Art Museum’s first director, Richard Fuller.
Promoted by Fuller, Anderson, Callahan, Graves and Tobey garnered international fame in the years leading up to Life magazine’s story in 1953 about the “Mystic Painters of the Northwest.” Though they eschewed the idea that they formed a so-called “Northwest School of Art,” these painters significantly influenced what we consider Northwest art, even today.
Anderson’s work is included in many private and public collections, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Art in Washington, DC. The Seattle Art Museum, Cascadia Art Museum in Edmonds and Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner are good places to see Anderson’s paintings. He spent about half his life in La Conner and died in Skagit County in 1998.
“Chuck Close: Prints, Process and Collaboration” will be displayed at the Schack from May 12 through Sept. 5.
The show is expected to bring thousands of people to Everett next summer.
Close, 75, has lived most of his life in New York. He grew up in Snohomish County and attended Everett Community College, where he was encouraged by the legendary art teacher Russell Day.
Schack Art Center Executive Director Judy Tuohy visited Close in February 2014 at his beach house on Long Island to inquire about a display of his work.
Close — renowned as one of America’s foremost artists in any media — has explored the art of printmaking in his continuing investigation into the principles of perception.
The coming exhibition provides a comprehensive survey of Close’s longtime involvement with the varied forms of this medium, including etching, aquatint, lithography, handmade paper, direct gravure, silkscreen, traditional Japanese woodcut and reduction linocut.
Visitors will have the chance to visualize the artist’s creative processes through a display of progressive proofs for a number of his prints, as well as actual woodblocks and etching plates.
Exhibition curator Terrie Sultan worked alongside Close to make a selection of works that illuminates his commitment to the artistic process, Tuohy said.
A note sent by Close to the Schack illustrates why the exhibit is a big deal to him:
“This is the first time I have had a major exhibition of my work in Snohomish County or Everett,” Close said. “I feel honored, and it’s great for people who knew me when to see what I am doing now. It is particularly gratifying to know that my work will be shown where I grew up.”
It’s an impressive lineup for an arts institution that has yet to celebrate its fifth anniversary.
“I am beyond excited to see where this next year takes the Schack,” said Tuohy. “Opening our new production studios and gallery space, and then being able to exhibit the work of Chuck Close, a world-class artist, is tremendous. This exhibit is the biggest thing to happen to our organization.”
If you go
The Schack Art Center presents “A Great Painter as Printmaker: The Block Prints of Guy Anderson” Jan. 7 through Feb. 27 and “Skagit Women Print” Jan. 7 through Feb. 4 at 2921 Hoyt Ave., Everett. The opening reception for both exhibits is 5 to 8 p.m. Jan. 7. Grand opening of new mezzanine studios and gallery is at 5:30 p.m. For more information, go to www.schack.org.
What’s coming to the Schack
Here’s a schedule of (mostly) free exhibits and events in 2016 at the Schack Art Center in Everett:
Jan. 7 through Feb. 27 — “A Great Painter as Printmaker: The Block Prints of Guy Anderson” and
Jan. 7 through Feb. 4 — “Skagit Women Print”
Jan. 23 — Lecture on innovations in acrylic paint
Feb. 8 through 28 — The 20th annual “Regional Scholastic Art Awards Exhibit”
Feb. 11 — Free open studio night for teens
Feb. 27 — H’ARTS, the 2016 art auction fundraiser
March 10 through April 23 — Biennial juried art show featuring emerging and established local artists in all mediums.
March 17 — Free open studio night for teens
April 14 — Free open studio night for teens
May 12 through Sept. 5 — “Chuck Close: Prints, Process and Collaboration”
May 26 — Free open studio night for teens
June 4 — Artists’ Garage Sale
Aug. 20, 21 — The Schack moves to the Everett waterfront for “Fresh Paint: A festival of artists at work”
Sept. 15 through 25 — Schacktoberfest, with the glass pumpkin patch and “Beer and Brats Night” on Sept. 22
Oct. 6 through Nov. 5 — Exhibit featuring artists who print on glass in the main gallery, as well as the Pilchuck Glass School Emerging Artists in Residence. Prints from artists who have used the print studio during their time at Pilchuck Glass School will be on exhibit in the mezzanine.
Nov. 17 through Dec. 24 — “Pressing On” by Seattle Print Arts
Ongoing — Most classes at the Schack have a fee. Classes include jewelry and metalsmithing, glass blowing, fused glass, writing a picture book, monotype printing, drawing,painting and encaustic. To register, talk to the clerk in the shop, call 425-259-5050 or go to www.schack.org/classes.
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; email@example.com. Twitter: @galefiege.