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updated: 3/24/2014 1:35 PM

National Juried Art Exhibition opens at Harper for 37th year

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  • Annelies Kamen, a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, is interested in making art that appears as a system: "a set of symbols, indications, negations and constructions."

      Annelies Kamen, a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, is interested in making art that appears as a system: "a set of symbols, indications, negations and constructions."
    Courtesy of Harper College

  • Jack Nixon of Wilmette has a love for architecture and ornamental detail. He creates large-scale drawings of Chicago architectural landmarks like the Civic Opera House.

      Jack Nixon of Wilmette has a love for architecture and ornamental detail. He creates large-scale drawings of Chicago architectural landmarks like the Civic Opera House.
    Courtesy of Harper College

  • Rafael E. Vera creates screen prints that explore the ambiguous nature of the home in his series, "Domestic Voids."

      Rafael E. Vera creates screen prints that explore the ambiguous nature of the home in his series, "Domestic Voids."
    Courtesy of Harper College

  • "This Place is a Stage" by Ajean Ryan of Fort Collins, Colo.

      "This Place is a Stage" by Ajean Ryan of Fort Collins, Colo.
    Courtesy of Harper College

  • "Anamnesis" by artist Ryan Hoevenaar of Washington, IL.

      "Anamnesis" by artist Ryan Hoevenaar of Washington, IL.
    Courtesy of Harper College

 

A juried art show opened this week at Harper College, that not only drew nearly 500 entries from around the country, but claims its roots in one of the most influential print workshops of the 20th century.

The National Juried Art Exhibition, featuring works on paper, was the brainchild of its founder, John Knudsen, who sadly passed away about two weeks ago.

According to his son, Mike Knudsen of Palatine, his father had the idea for the exhibition after taking a one-year sabbatical from teaching at Harper to study in Paris, under world-renowned printmaker Stanley William Hayter.

In the late 1920s, Hayter started a print shop, that was later named Atelier 17, a famed studio for working artists that drew Marc Chagall, Max Ernst, Joan Miró, and Pablo Picasso, among others.

Knudsen studied with him in 1974, his son says, and the techniques he learned about his use of line and texture, as well as the importance of the craft of printmaking, made a lasting impact.

Within two years of returning to Harper's art department, Knudsen created the Illinois Print and Drawing Show, to promote the art form. Over the years, it has grown into a juried show, which is drawing national attention.

"It's an established tradition at Harper," says Margaret Buchen, Harper's art curator. "We're committed to bringing in practicing artists and exposing students -- and the community -- to the great range of work that's being done today."

This year, Shaurya Kumar, an assistant professor of printmaking from the School of the Art Institute, judged all the entries. He ultimately chose 15 works for the show, which include screen prints, intaglio prints, drawings and mixed media pieces.

"My goal was to select works that were both innovative and experimental," Kumar said. "I was particularly focused on artists who did not hesitate to go beyond the norm and pushed the boundaries of applied media."

In prior years, the show featured all small works, but this year Harper opened it up to larger works.

Consequently, its entries range from a paper cutout that is 6 inches by 6 inches, to a 4-foot drawing.

"Many of the prints incorporate contemporary photographic techniques that layer information and content," Buchen said.

Among the works chosen are those of five Chicago area artists, including Annelies Kamen, a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, who is interested in making art that appears as "a system: a set of symbols, indications, negations and constructions."

By contrast, Jack Nixon of Wilmette incorporates his love of architecture and ornamental detail into his large-scale drawings of Chicago architectural landmarks.

The exhibit is on display from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through April 17 in Harper's art exhibition space, in Room C200 in Building C on the Palatine campus. For more information, call (847) 925-6568. Admission is free.

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