The World of Fujiko Isomura

English and American prints
by Cate McQuaid

Article of about“11th North American Print Exhibition”
Boston Printmakers, Boston University, Massachusetts.

From: The Boston Blobe, Boston, MA, Thursday, March 25, 1999.

.....Marilyn Kushner, curator of prints and drawings at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, had her hands full curating the Boston Printmakers 1999 North American Print Biennial, now up at Boston University's 808 Gallery. More than 800 prints were submitted, and 156 chosen, comprising a range of both traditional and computer-based printmaking techniques.
.....The show, while chockablock with intriguing prints, feels out of control. Kushner tried to corral the stampede of artwork according to sweeping themes such as death, nostalgia, and women's issues. Rather than entering into conversation with each other, most of the prints compete for attention. There just isn't enough wall space, even in this roomy gallery, and Kushner's emphases on subject matter interferes with the viewer's inclination to make visual connections.
.....Even so, she makes one interesting point: Surrealism and the fantastic have a stronger presence here than abstraction. These particular prints stem from the strong history of illustration in printmaking. James Munce's "St.Francis Restores the Neglected Church" is a late 20th-century twist on religious imagery, with the good saint pulled up beneath the church organ like an auto mechanic at work on the undercarriage of a car.
.....Outstanding prints include Stephen McMillan's evocative aquatint "Emma's Woods," showing a misty orchard in winter, the branches forming a gnarled canopy overhead. Carolyn Muskat's lithographic triptych “Tree Torsos” repeats the slightly turned, exquisitely feminine torso defined by the lines of a dress tied at the bosom, in mustard, rose, and then floral-patterned pink.
.....Charles Harden's natural history etchings of a dragonfly and a fiddler crab delicately portray each detail over a ground that maps put lines moving beyond each creature's body into an elegant cartography. Fujiko Isomura's hand-modified inkjet prints take a kimono-garbed Japanese woman seemingly lifted from 19th-century Japanese prints and puts them in more modern settings: She drives a convertible past two guys in a truck, trying to get her attention; she gardens under the watchful eye of Garfield the cat.
.....Yizhak Elyashiv's large, gridded drypoint "A Handful of Grains" draws a constellation of lines connecting grains he scattered over metal plates, printed in dusky rose hues. Anne Conner's woodprint, "Malone 1," could be the markings of an ebbing tide on wet sand, in gold on brown; she breaks up the natural waves with the outline of a jigsaw puzzle.

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