By Joe Martone
Gender politics and the pursuit of paper underscore [PAPERSLUTS] printmaking show at CSUSB
Art is adaptable. It can say anything. The medium and the message come together to achieve something that cannot be seen in any other format.
When the medium is printmaking and the content is Victorian mores, pornography, and other feminist images, what you get is a bold statement being made at CSU San Bernardino.
This exhibit is called [PAPERSLUTS], and was put together by alumna Megan Flanders. Flanders is a local and runs The Walking Gallery in Pomona, which is dedicated to displaying the works of young artists. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that she was able to curate and construct the college’s newest gallery.
“I am constantly amazed at the really cool work out here in the Inland Empire that otherwise doesn’t get seen like in the L.A. galleries,” Flanders says. “I’ve had this, I don’t know, fascination? Hobby? With trying to pull together just small group show where artists can learn how to get seen, how to be a ‘real artist.’ No one is just going to just plop a show in your lap.”
Flanders was specifically inspired by the printmaking young women still attending the college. Feeling they were “underrepresented,” she set out to collaborate with them and make a show.
“You can have a show in your closet, doesn’t mean the school is going to support you. We have a story here that we should be telling.”
Flanders chose printmaking as the medium for the exhibit because it was a traditionally male-dominated art form, and an archaic one at that.
“Printmaking, for me, was this wonderful antithesis to digital art. Everybody can be a graphic designer with Photoshop, but [for] printmaking you have to have equipment no one has anymore. It’s a learned art form that you have to apprentice for in Europe. You gotta love it; you have to put in the blood, sweat, tears and tentacles.”
The name [PAPERSLUTS] came from Flanders and her crew explaining printmaking at a panel, as the name fit the artists in a variety of ways. The first was in their technique.
“You have to touch and feel and interact with your materials, you have to know how they’re going to work together. We artists have to go to the fine arts store and touch every sheet of paper, and in that way we are paper sluts.”
The second was based on the gender politics of the word “slut.”
“We were all feminists and female printmakers, and the words worked in combination.”
In keeping with the exhibit’s title, the show is filled with plenty of eye-raising pieces.
“Our show does have a lot of graphic content. We have some artwork that is based on Victorian pornography, the feminist techniques that were apparent when printmaking was at its height. Some of these things were being printed then as well. I’m really excited about it”
Though Flanders’ wants everyone to enjoy the show, her main goal is getting the word out and getting her young artists noticed.
“The word is starting to trickle out. I’m pretty content with getting a decent turnout, but if we could sell some of the work that would be amazing.”
[PAPERSLUTS]: Contemporary Feminist Printmaking, CSU San Bernardino, 5500 University Pkwy., San Bernardino; www.facebook.com/events/143252342498705. Thru Feb. 2. Free. Nudity and adult content on display.