Jessica Meuninck-Ganger @ Print Press Play

May. 3, 2010
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Two University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee art professors collaborate in dual exhibitions this April and May, sharing space at the Historic Third Ward’s Elaine Erickson’s Gallery and the Museum of Wisconsin Art. Jessica Meuninck-Ganger and Nathaniel Stern hosted an informal talk at Erickson’s gallery opening Thursday evening for the exhibition “Print Press Play.” Ganger and Stern explained with visuals their individual work, while Ganger spoke to her family background and the process of her printmaking.

Q: Were you encouraged as a child to pursue art?

A: The picture I put on the screen during the informal talk, the “Sunshine Family,” was a knock off of the Barbie doll back then, when I was growing up. When I was given mine, the eyes fell out [of the doll’s faces], so I needed to stick pins in them. In that family, the parents were artists. In my family, my father is a ceramic artist, my mother a fiber artist. And my brother is a painter in Indianapolis.

Q: Is there anything else about your upbringing that influences your printmaking?

A: I grew up for 18 years in a forest, forests of Walnut trees. This informed my work environment and aesthetics. I walked through the spaces, and so I try to fill the spaces now,[the prints and the galleries], by moving through them and the images in my artwork or installations.

Q: How specifically did this influence your work?

A: I do like to work with books, and I’m also a book artist. This is a time-based element that mirrors cinematic time [seen in the print/video work collaborating with Stern]. Lesley Dill from New York is one of my favorite artists, the way she uses text in her assemblages, fibers and sculptures and this inspires me. In one show I created larger than life journal pages that you hung from the ceiling, pages you could actually walk through. The ‘book’ becomes the architecture of the space. This was influenced by my grandmother, who died after a long bout with Alzheimer’s. I splashed acid on these pages, and used different chemicals [Stern calls Jessica an amazing alchemist], to show
that prints deteriorate with age.

Q: What’s planned for the future, alone or with Stern, for creating more art?

A: Several or these pictures in Elaine’s gallery, the artworks, debuted at AOP Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa. They’re traveling to Massachusetts and Hungary this year, in 2010. But I would like to continue working with, manipulating the artist’s book. Put a videoscreen in the cover or back cover, a very tine video screen, which is possible now. So when the story or book ends, it really becomes the neverending story!

(View Ganger and Stern in their exhibitions combining traditional printmaking with videos at Elaine Erickson’s Galley through May 2 and at the Museum of Wisconsin Art.)


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