A survey of prints at Promega

A survey of prints at Promega gallery
“Burning Down the House #9 ‘ Brave Old Sequence’” by William Weege

Madison is filled with fans of Tandem Press, the University of Wisconsin–Madison-affiliated organization that collaborates with artists from around the world to create contemporary fine-art prints. If you count yourself among them, don’t miss the new Fall Art Showcase at Promega.

The Art of Printmaking, which runs through the end of the year at the Fitchburg biotech company, demonstrates the diversity of artistic output at Tandem. Curator Daniel Swadener chose wisely among the many artists who have created prints there, focusing on roughly a dozen who have spent time at the press.

A variety of works—some small, some large, all breathtakingly layered—by Judy Pfaff are among the highlights of the show. Two smaller prints feature vibrant oranges and pale greens, while two larger works are more subtle in color, carried out in mostly whites, grays and blacks. “The Cold Half of the Month” reveals detailed leaves and cross-hatch marks, while “Year of the Dog #4” is looser, with wilder, swirling organic forms.

These works, like all in The Art of Printmaking, need to be seen in person to be best appreciated; the textures, layers and other details come alive when viewed up close.

Suzanne Caporael’s “Long Water” is a compellingly minimalist look at water, with muted blue and gray strips forming rhythmic waves. Her “Arbitrary World,” meanwhile, presents the countries of the globe in streamlined shapes in different colors.

Those familiar with Tandem will likely be able to name the artist who made these works: “Lander,” a bold, blocky, slightly surrealistic scene of a sports pendant by Madison’s T.L. Solien; “Diocletian,” a large coin-like portrait by José Lerma; “Offering,” a blue vase holding the characteristic tightly clustered blooms and leaves of Dennis Nechvatal; and “Empire,” a slick neon-lined marquee sign by Robert Cottingham.

Two large heart woodcuts with hand drawing—”The Black and Red Heart” and “The New Building”—showcase the amount of expression Jim Dine brings to the iconic shape, while across the Promega lobby, Mickalene Thomas proves more can be more with “Interior: Zebra with Two Chairs and Funky Fur,” a scene packed with texture, print and color.

The show continues upstairs, and if this is where you conclude your tour, it’s a fitting end. You’ll find three deliciously textured “Burning Down the House” prints by William Weege, the founder of Tandem Press.

Also on display as part of the Promega’s Fall Art Showcase is a series of prints by Jean Dibble. A professor at the University of Notre Dame, Dibble infuses her prints with ancient techniques and often incorporates text. Her work is a complementary counterpoint to the works created at Tandem.

The Art of Printmaking runs through December 31 at Promega. For more information, visit promega-artshow.com