Artblog Covers Grimaldi Baez, Jose Ortiz Pagan, and others in New Philly Ink
Rachel Heidenry writes that, “The Brandywine Workshop clearly holds a special place in the Philadelphia art community.”
“The organization has a long history of promoting emerging artists, engaging in institutional collaboration with local universities, and bringing established artists to Philadelphia for residencies.”
This definitely holds true for two of the artist involved in our March show, A CEMI WASTE OF MACHO TIME. Both the curator of this show (NAPOLEON member Jose Ortiz Pagan) and his selected artist (Grimaldi Baez) were on exhibit in New Philly Ink.
NAPOLEON for a long time has a had an unofficial reputation for being a printmaking gallery. Though this is not in the formal mission statement, many of the founding members are printmakers and see contemporary art through a printmaker’s lense: art is not a precious item, but a process, whereby material is created, manipulated, and used.
But printmaking is not just an artform. Due to the sharing of presses, the idea of master printers, and the community created in printmaking studios, the printmaking network is a small, but well connected one. Friendships born out of print are often as permanent as the inks used to make the images.
About the Brandywine show, Heidenry explains the connections played a major part in how the artists knew each other:
The artists’ ties form a web of histories and associations that ultimately culminate in the city of Philadelphia: Kirillov and Baez met as undergrads at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. Then Baez met Ortiz-Pagán (both of whom are Puerto Rican) and collaborated on a project at Trailer Park Projects in Puerto Rico. During a stint in Rome, Ortiz-Pagán met Garcia and the two worked together on a handful of group shows and installations. Connections began forming and introductions were made across continents.
In the Artblog article, Heidenry uses a quote from Baez that also sheds light on why printmaking and why Philadelphia:
Indeed, Philly may now be the place to look for emerging printmakers. Embracing both the city’s history and evolving artistic community, the artists are representing both their own histories and Philadelphia’s beautifully. As Baez said, “I have lived here for a little more than a year and I feel like we are indeed starting something. And that something is a community of artists who have fished each other out of the universe so that we can try a little experiment.” That experiment is certainly succeeding.