There is a considerable amount of art to see and visit in Austin, Texas. A few weeks ago I was at the Austin Book Arts Center located in studio #114 in Flatbed Press building. While I was meeting with Linda Anderson, Mary Baughman stopped by to say hello. We met last year, when she created introduction opportunities to other artists in the area.
Mary’s career spanned 40 years at the University of Texas, most of that time caring for unique books at the Ransom Center. Teaching book arts for children has convinced her that children who learn to love books continue to treasure reading and writing, and will support the libraries of the future. Mary is additionally a associate of the Lone Star chapter of the Guild of Book Workers, a founding member of Austin Book Workers, and one of the originators of the Book Arts Fair held for 20+ years at Laguna Gloria Art Museum.
If you are a conservator you might be interested in reading on how Mary spearheaded the effort at the Ransom Center by creating insect ID flashcards.
After my time with Linda, Mary accompanied me around Flatbeb Press, founded in 1989 by Katherine Brimberry and Mark L. Smith. The facility includes not only Flatbeb’s shop, offices, and galleries, but also eleven tenants. The mix of visual-arts professionals provides a "24/7" creative synergy in the building.
Gallery Shoal Creek, CAMIBA Art,
L_A_N D Architects,
Hubbard Birchler Studio,
Daniel Arredondo Studio,
Smith and Hawley, NJ Weaver Studio,
Recspec Design Studio,
Jacqueline May Studio and Troy Brauntuch Studio.
While walking around the galleries, I witnessed Influence an exhibition of recent works by Nova Scotia based artist Ericka Walker, who was born in Hartford, Wisconsin, US.
Her large-scale multi-color lithographs draw on the vibrant history of propaganda, printed ephemera, and advertising from twentieth century Europe and North America. Ericka's work exposes nostalgia as an ongoing rhetorical device in a contemporary sociopolitical climate that clings savagely to destructive birthrights and colonial residues. As a self described “Daughter of Colonialism,” Walker considers the history of her parent nation, her host country, and to her own family’s involvement in settlement, agriculture, industry, and military service as enterprises that are far more complex than any slogan or advertisement can acclaim.
As I roamed the hallways the exhibition Language of Flowers engaged my eye. This show presents Brooklyn based, West Virginia native, Martin Mazorra’s botanical woodcut and letterpress prints that maintain the Victorian tradition of the language of flowers. Historically, flowers were a means to send coded messages that were otherwise unspoken in public. Specific flowers communicated distinct postures or sentiments. In Mazorra’s Language of Flowers, the choices of particular flowers or bouquets, along with provocative text are a contemporary interpretation to this tradition of cautious exchange.
Martin Mazorra is a Brooklyn based artist originally from West Virginia. He works chiefly in the medium of woodcut and letterpress, in a range of scales from small books, prints on paper, and on canvas, to site specific print-based installations.
Whenever you can, join me in visiting exhibition in your area.