Art News June, 2004
Santa Fe Editions / Anderson Contemporary Art, Santa Fe
The brainchild of computer artist Gary Mankus, Santa Fe Editions founded in 1991, is the collaborative venture of 13 artists who use the latest in digital technology in the service of printmaking. This was the group’s first exhibition, and it proved that the rapidly advancing medium can yield beautiful results.
The show demanded at least two viewings, one simply to ponder the perplexing process itself. Lush unimaginable uber-colors were generated, and photographs of photographs captured the minutest of details. But beyond technique, the works were stunning in the old-fashioned esthetic way.
Each piece was printed with archival digital-pigment ink on large-format, high-grade art paper in an edition of about 30, yet each retained the idiosyncratic style of its maker. Robert Kelly created his 2003-4 “Chords” series, for instance, by throwing a blue extension cord on the ground and photographing its random landings, then digitally manipulating the images and assembling them in a grid of nine squares. Johnnie Winona Ross’s austere Agnes Martin-like fading horizontal bars of color were conceived directly on the computer.
Nothing more than muted color fields of soft, grainy grays and the palest of greens and yellows, Raphaelle Goethals’s ethereal 2004 “Borealis” series evoked a sense of water or wind that barely obscures the surface beneath. Ricardo Mazal-using shadow, light, and slender, branchlike, horizontal tendrils- portrayed the progression of time. And Erika Blumenfeld’s Living Light #1 (2004), which documented marine organisms that emit an electric-blue light, communicated the complex grandeur of the natural world.
For anyone interested in the next wave of printmaking, this was an amazing exhibition. The unlimited possibilities of the computer freed many of these otherwise fine artists to make some of their best work.