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Crown Point Press
San Francisco, US
Crown Point Press, founded in 1962, focuses on the art of etching. Our gallery, bookstore, and studio are located in a historic building around the corner from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. We have two websites: crownpoint.com concentrates on our published etchings, and magical-secrets.com features videos of artists at work in our studio and presents practical information for printmakers. Although Crown Point’s main activity is our print publishing program, we also hold etching workshops open to all and have published books detailing the craft of the etching process.
Crown Point Press celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012, and Kathan Brown published her memoir, Know That You Are Lucky the same year. The exhibition Yes, No, Maybe: Artists Working at Crown Point Press, opened at the National Gallery of Art in 2013 and it featured 125 workings proofs and final prints by 25 artists who have worked at Crown Point Press from 1972 through 2010. Accompanying the exhibition was a catalog, Yes, No, Maybe: Artists Working at Crown Point Press, with an essay by curators Judith Brodie and Adam Greenhalgh.
Crown Point artists come to work in our studio from all over the world. Richard Diebenkorn, Sol LeWitt and John Cage produced significant bodies of work with us over the decades. Other artists who have worked at Crown Point include Tomma Abts, Darren Almond, Mamma Andersson, Robert Colescott, Leonardo Drew, Mary Heilmann, Jacqueline Humphries, Tom Marioni, Julie Mehretu, Matt Mullican, Jockum Nordström, Chris Ofili, Laura Owens, Ed Ruscha, Alyson Shotz, Kiki Smith, Pat Steir, Wayne Thiebaud, Patricia Treib, Richard Tuttle, Charline von Heyl, Catherine Wagner, Mary Weatherford, Fred Wilson, and John Zurier, among others.
Kathan Brown is Founding Director of Crown Point Press, and Valerie Wade is the Director.
Catherine Wagner, Language I, 2021. Photogravure printed in blue on gampi paper chine collé. Image size: 18½ x 38"; paper size: 25½ x 44". Edition 10. Published by Crown Point Press.
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Crown Point Press announces its participation in the third online-only Spring presentation of the IFPDA Print Fair. In its virtual booth, the Press is highlighting the release of new photogravures by San Francisco Bay Area artist Catherine Wagner as well as a selection of prints by artists Tomma Abts, Mary Heilmann, Jacqueline Humphries, Alyson Shotz, Charline von Heyl and Mary Weatherford whose work explores themes of abstraction.
Catherine Wagner is an artist known for her photographs of the built environment and the creation of site-specific public art installations. Working as a conceptual artist through the medium of photography, she acts as a social anthropologist—documenting, taking inventory, and categorizing places and things. Wagner is interested in our collective history, the physical evidence of time's passage, and how culture is revealed through language and architecture.
In the fall of 2021, Wagner worked in the Crown Point studio for two weeks. She brought with her to the etching studio some small blocks of wood in various geometric shapes that were cut specifically to photograph for this project. "These elemental shapes serve as basic architectural gestures. They are foundational pieces constructed to define shape, space, and volume," she said. From the outset, Wagner created a studio within the studio at the Press. She brought professional lights and cameras to photograph the wooden blocks that she composed into a variety of small sculptural still lifes. These were temporary; their imagery was captured in the medium of photogravure.
The Crown Point printers, led by Emily York, made film positives from Wagner’s photos which were exposed onto light-sensitive gelatin and etched with aquatint into the copper plates. The final images are all printed in the same shade of blue which illuminates the tangible, sensual nature of the wooden blocks.
The first print that Wagner completed, Language I, looks a bit like an eye chart, though the shapes can also be seen as building-blocks for language. While working on this image, Wagner said she became very aware of the empty space between and around the shapes, and that the shadows had an important life of their own. The second print, Language II-Displaced Shadows, celebrates the shadows as entities unto themselves. While looking at the studio wall where the two prints were pinned up, Wagner said, “The shadow in itself is a wonderful image.” After she created the first two prints, the objects and their displaced shadows became the main theme of the project.
Artists Tomma Abts, Mary Heilmann, Jacqueline Humphries, Alyson Shotz, Charline von Heyl, and Mary Weatherford each work using similar abstract language though they employ different styles and tools to take their medium to its current place in art. Mary Weatherford’s painting is rooted in abstract expressionism and color field painting. Jacqueline Humphries is a painter who conceptually connects her work to the cultural and social dialogues of today. Tomma Abts is best known for paintings that often use geometric elements to make them appear woven or built up. Charline von Heyl begins work without sketches or a plan, and generally relies on an intuitive abstract mark-making; her art reflects a distinctive dissonance. Mary Heilmann, as critic Iwona Blazwick has noted, captures “the spirit of an age.” She uses a loose active style and bright colors in her painting. David Pagel, another critic, said, “[She] can make a quickly flicked drip, a loosely brushed smudge or a solitary dollop of color seem like a big event.” Alyson Shotz, a sculptor, takes an empirical approach when creating her work. Her recent etchings of knots are, in essence, flattened three-dimensional forms. She said at the time, “The entanglement… seems to display a structure similar to dark matter clumped in the universe.”
In San Francisco, Crown Point Press is happy to welcome you in person to visit our San Francisco gallery at 20 Hawthorne Street. Catherine Wagner: End Grain: The Displaced Shadow continues until March 11, 2022.
Crown Point Press
30 x 29"
Photogravure printed in blue on gampi paper chine collé
Crown Point Press