Opening Thursday, July 8, 2021, 10:00am – 7:00pm
Galerie Lelong & Co., New York, is pleased to present New Prints and Editions, a group exhibition featuring six of the gallery’s artists: Etel Adnan, Leonardo Drew, Samuel Levi Jones, Jaume Plensa, Kate Shepherd, and Barthélémy Toguo. Known for their works in painting, sculpture, and installation, the artists also maintain an active practice with works on paper; experimenting with new ideas, techniques and materials to further investigate thematic issues.
The master colorist Etel Adnan (b. 1925, Beirut, Lebanon) first began exploring printmaking in 2014 with the support of Galerie Lelong Editions. Speaking about her color engravings, Adnan remarked at the time: “I based the compositions on paintings, but modified the proportions and used different color combinations so that, by the end, I had created original etchings that said something entirely different from the paintings, which nonetheless lent their energy to these new works.” Accompanying the etchings is a tapestry by Adnan, achieved with the historic Aubusson atelier PINTON.
Since 2012, Leonardo Drew (b. 1961, Tallahassee, Florida) has been creating cast paper works that demonstrate the artist’s ingenuity and deep understanding of the material. Using an entirely new technique that Drew developed with the Pace Paper studios, a variety of material—cotton paper pulp, pigment, and handmade paper—are applied to casted molds, producing works of emotional weight and gravity coaxed from the lightness of paper.
Samuel Levi Jones’s (b. 1978, Marion, Indiana) ongoing practice centers on physically dismantling objects associated with systems of power and control, often rearranging deconstructed book covers into grid-like compositions to question their assumed command of the truth. The artist brought these books for his residencies at Paulson Fontaine Press in 2017 and 2018 respectively and created sewn compositions for the print works. The compositions were then rolled with tar through a press, with the second plate holding solid aquatint. Both plates were inked à la poupée and each of the rectangles inked in a particular color by hand next to each other, resulting in vibrant prints that retain the intricate textures and dimensions of the book covers.
Alongside a four decades-long sculpture practice, Jaume Plensa (b. 1955, Barcelona, Spain) has an equally long relationship to works on paper. In 2020, away from the team and studio that helps him realize his large-scale public art installations, Plensa began creating digital prints that meld images of human portraits. The works reference his public-facing oeuvre—the smooth surfaces of his bronze sculptures and the light mesh sculptures are interwoven in a commentary on humanity’s deep connection to each other. Also on view are three intimate sculptures by Plensa that were produced as studies for monumental pieces.
Since 2007, Kate Shepherd (b. 1961, New York, NY) has made unique screen prints in a consistent format that she calls Protest Posters. These works confer a sense of urgency and engage an economy of means to achieve bold visual impact. Using a set of screens that she repositions between successive layers of ink, Shepherd structures compositions that suggest layered space. The earliest protest posters were monochromatic, and later series incorporated a variety of brilliant hues. In a recent series, titled News, Shepherd uses exclusively black inks to relate the tabloid format of her works to the black and white of printed newspapers and a photographer’s value scale. A concurrent chromatic series, titled Corita’s Sister, recalls the palette of Sister Corita Kent, whose politically motivated screen prints addressed themes of social justice. “While I never add text to my prints, I always think of posters from my childhood protesting the war in Vietnam. The ‘message’ is visceral rather than intellectual,” Shepherd states.
Barthélémy Toguo’s (b. 1976, M’Balmayo, Cameroon) dreamlike prints depict human and plant forms that merge and morph into each other. By dissolving the boundaries between man and nature, the artist initiates a conversation about our relationship to the environment, binding issues of ecology to society. Beginning as etchings in 2019, this new series of prints are all engraved in blue, with titles referencing the rivers of Cameroon, the artist’s home country.