New Edition: Prints by Dave + Sarojini Johnson

Prints are hot, and the wintertime Annual Print Exhibit at Gordy Fine Art and Framing will feature woodcut prints and etchings by two Ball State University printmaking professors. David and Sarojini Johnson are known both for their own signature styles and for the number of students following their example as professionals in the field. With more than fifty years of combined teaching, the duo continues to hone their artistic skills. “The woodcuts, etchings, and artist’s books in this show represent some of their best work,” notes Brian Gordy.

Topknots and Polka Dots

David’s woodcuts often depict humans or animals – cows, pigs, crows – in large color block scenes, fair barns, streetscapes, or fast food establishments. Sarojini’s pieces are known for an exotic flavor, where plants and insects, frogs and lilies are poised in colorful, dark, dreamlike garden scenes, decorative ribbons running around edges. In “Frog and Lily,” a blue-green spotted frog competes with orange and red flowers for center stage. David’s “Topknots and Polka Dots” depicts a seated woman who appears to be relaxing in a corner of the printmaking room at Ball State University – home office for the Johnson duo.

The two artists engage different methods to arrive at their compositions. Sarojini employs intaglio, mastering the process in tight, rich details that are etched out of a metal plate. The plate is then inked and run through a press to create a single print at a time. David’s relief prints, cut by hand, often include color blocks of street scenes or observed moments of contemporary life. His artistic method of choice is relief printing, where wood or linoleum is carved away, leaving desired areas that then receive ink and are printed onto special papers. Each color requires either a different carved block or the same block, cut out a bit more after each color application.

The opening reception for “New Edition” will be held Thursday, February 6, 2014 from 5 to 8 PM at the downtown art gallery. Light refreshments will be served and the artists will be introduced at 6:15 PM for a short talk, and to answer questions about the work. The exhibit will continue through February 28, 2014, and may also be viewed during normal business hours or by appointment.

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