Cultural identity, political and social issues, portraiture, and landscape, as well as patterning and pure abstraction, are some of the many concerns explored by the artists in the current exhibition “Full Spectrum: Prints from the Brandywine Workshop.”
The exhibition features more than 50 print works by John Biggers, Moe Brooker, Joyce de Guatemala, Sam Gilliam, Mei-ling Hom, Ibrahim Miranda, Kenneth Noland, Howardena Pindell, Betye and Alison Saar, Vuyile Voyiya, Kay WalkingStick and Isaiah Zagar.
The artists reflect the range of Brandywine Workshop participants and underscoring the extent of the workshop’s stylistic and conceptual reach.
The spectrum of artistic voices and approaches to image-making represented in the exhibition reflects the increasingly pluralistic character of contemporary art.
“The range of the artists who have produced screenprints, offset lithographs, and other prints at the Workshop, and the variety of their stylistic approaches and artistic concerns, speak to the collaborative nature of the Workshop and its mission to serve as a technical facilitator of the artist’s ideas, encouraging experimentation,” said Shelley Langdale, the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s associate curator of prints and drawings who is organizing the exhibition at the Museum.
Since its founding in 1972, the Brandywine Workshop has become an internationally recognized center for printmaking and a vital part of the Philadelphia community.
Dedicated to the creation of prints and to broadening their appreciation, the workshop actively engages diverse artists and communities.
“I’m humbled by being in the show because I do know of the range of prints [because] Allen had the ability to attract wonderful artist here to work,” said participating artist John Dowell. “I looked at the prints and I realized that a lot of the artists made prints here that were stronger than they made elsewhere. We had a dream out there, and Allen stuck and made it happen, and a lot of people that Allen was mentoring and being very supportive to make it happen because back then very few Black artist were making prints. This has changed the whole thing.”
In addition to working closely with local artists and offering a wide array of educational programs, the workshop has sponsored more than 300 residencies for artists from 35 states and 15 foreign countries and has toured exhibitions to over 30 cities in Europe, the Middle and Near East, Africa and Latin America.
Located in downtown Philadelphia at 730-32 S. Broad Street’s “Avenue of the Arts,” Brandywine Workshop operates it’s Center for the Visual Arts, which includes the Firehouse Building as well as the first two floors of 728 S. Broad Street, which houses offices the Print Studios and Archives.
Both buildings are connected by a landscaped public plaza, which present free music and video programs. In 2009, the workshop donated 100 prints by 89 artists to the Museum in memory of the Museum’s late director Anne d’Harnoncourt. “Full Spectrum” celebrates this generous gift as well as the workshop’s accomplishments over its distinguished 40 year history.
The workshop’s donation is illustrated in its entirety in an accompanying catalogue, which features an essay by Philadelphia native and noted contemporary print scholar Ruth Fine, former curator of special projects in Modern Art at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
“The ‘Full Spectrum’ exhibition represents not just the 40th anniversary for us, but the culmination of the dream of so many artists who vowed to create an institution — Brandywine Workshop — where excellent art could be produce and appreciated for the ages,” said Allan Edmunds, the organization’s founder and executive director. “As our national outreach and presence continue to grow, it is essential that we remain an established and evolving part of Philadelphia’s historic arts community, while continuing to inform the rest of the country of the city’s role in contemporary art and printmaking. It is a great honor for the Workshop’s prints to become a part of the Museum’s outstanding collection and a thrill for a selection to be on view in this exhibition.”
“Full Spectrum: Prints from the Brandywine Workshop” celebrates the 40th Anniversary of The Brandywine Workshop and is on exhibit from September 7 to November 25 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Main Building, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
For information about the exhibition, visit the Museum’s website at www.philamuseum.org.