Los Angeles

“Initial Member’s Exhibition”

Los Angeles Printmaking Society

The Los Angeles Printmaking Society, first group of printmakers to be organized in Southern California since the second decade of this century, opened its initial members’ exhibition Oct. 20 in the Society’s permanent galleries at 818 S. Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles with a showing of 52 prints (not all were cataloged) by 30 of the 36 founding members: A series of monthly print exhibitions is planned through September, 1964.

Two floors of the downtown building have been turned over to the new society for two years by the owners, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Lewis. The lower floor has been converted to exhibition rooms by saw and hammer-wielding members. The upper floor will contain a workshop with a press or presses for the use of members. Dues for accepted members are $5.00 per year. Patrons, sought among print collectors and fans, pay $10.00 annually.

Connor Everts, painter-printmaker and president, conceived the society and did much of the organizing of it. Esther Lewis, etcher and wife of Joseph, deserves much of the credit for its realization.

At the time of the first show the following printmakers were members: Minna Agins, Walter Askin, Ray Barrio, Gabrielle Brill, Ray Brown, Margaret Breindel, Bob Click, Arta Corrigan, Pauline Courtney, Paul Darrow, Betty La Duke, Leonard Edmondson, Connor Everts, Tom Friscano, Jim Fuller, David Glines, Roger Hollenbeck, Shiro Ikegawakegawa, Ynez Johnston Berry, Robert Keagy, W. W. Keefer, Ernest Lacy, Esther Lewis, Louis Lunetta, Guy Maccoy, John Opie, Charlotte Ross, Winifred Roth, Betty Saar, Jack Stuck, Dick Swift, Joyce Tremain, Anne Veis, Clay Walker, June Wayne and Joe Zirker. With some notable exceptions—(John Paul Jones, Ernest Freed and Sister Mary Corita, for instance, were not members at the time of writing) these names represent the area’s printmakers who have emerged from post-war university, college and art-institute print departments. Many of them now head such departments. In style, subject matter, technique and print-size their productions belong to this period. Thanks to the huge presses available, intaglio prints accounted for more than half the show, most of them being large and using color. One, Dick Swift’s two-color etching, The Miracle, is immense. It is printed from four irregularly shaped plates on a mural-sized sheet of paper, each plate having figures presumably representing episodes of a story. The large panel showed a nude woman relaxed by a stream amid foliage, all very nicely drawn.

About the only intaglios that depend on drawing in the old linear-descriptive sense were Paul Darrow’s drypoint and Robert Keagy’s small etching of figures, Frieze. More typical were the handsome collections of mysterious symbols etched, with color, by Shiro Ikegawa and Tom Friscano or the broad abstract color etching entitled This I Became by Winifred Roth. The sole line engraving was Jim Fuller’s Spring Odyssey, plants, birds and a bull in clean outline.

Next most numerous were the serigraphs with 15 prints led by the veteran Guy Maccoy’s abstract Red Spot. Maccoy, of course, predates his colleagues. He was one of the first artists to use the silk screen as a fine-art medium. Ray Barrio’s broad abstract, Interstice, was a top print in this medium, as was Robert Fiedler’s design of clean-edged flat-color shapes, Temple City.

Five woodcuts and, by Margaret Breindel, one slatecut, comprised the raised-surface prints. With Tamarind Lithography Workshop in town one would have expected more than five lithographs.

June Wayne, Tamarind’s Director, is a society member but did not exhibit. Two of the show’s most powerful prints were Connor Everts’ two agonizing figure lithos, Need I Say More and Automation.

The Los Angeles Printmaking Society envisions making group shipments of its members’ prints to national exhibitions, and traveling shows of its own. It offers an organization and group activities to printmakers whose works are not acceptable to this region’s long established print group, the Printmakers Society of California, which stresses the kinds of prints most popular in pre-Depression years and has generally been inhospitable to works in “modern” idioms.

Arthur Miller