The following is part of a larger article from our summer newsletter, which you can see here. Read on to learn about WPG’s exciting exhibition exchange with China!
In June 2012, WPG will host Chinese Impressions: Contemporary Ex Libris Prints, a special exhibition of approximately 150 Ex Libris prints created by printmakers from Shanghai and other cities and provinces of China. First exhibited at the 2010 Shanghai Pearl Tower Gallery, the prints use the Ex Libris format. Ex Libris (Latin, ‘from the library of ’) are miniature prints, historically adhered inside books in private libraries to denote personal ownership. In past centuries and decades, artists such as Albrecht Durer, Thomas Bewick, Paul
Revere, Kate Greenaway, Aubrey Beardsley, Marc Chagall, M.C. Escher, Rockwell Kent, Leonard Baskin and others have created Ex Libris prints. Ex Libris prints have also become known as prints of miniature scale, collectible as much for graphic impact as for the original connections with books.
In exchange with the exhibition of Chinese prints, a selection of prints by WPG artists will travel to Shanghai to be shown during the second half of April 2012 at the newly constructed Pudong Cultural Centre in Shanghai with plans for an additional exhibition at the Shanghai Public Library in Puxi. There are also plans for the Chinese Ex Libris prints to travel to additional venues in the US, including Salem College, NC in September 2012.
This special WPG-China exhibition exchange grew out of friendships developed over the years between the Cooleys (WPG member Rosemary and her husband Joe) and Japanese printmaker Takuji Kubo, Stella Xu (currently a PhD candidate in Art History), and Professor Xu Longbao (Stella’s father and Professor at the University of Shanghai).
Rosemary Cooley first met Takuji Kubo in Florence in 2002 while he was Artist-in-Residence at Santa Reparata International School of Art, where Rosemary had previously studied with Dan Welden during summer 2001. Takuji, who specializes in copper engraving, received his MFA from Tama University, Tokyo with further studies at Morley College, the Print Workshop and the Prints and Drawings Room of the British Museum, all in London. When Takuji traveled to DC for the 2004 Southern Graphics Conference, Rosemary invited him to speak at WPG where he demonstrated his engraving technique.
Takuji later visited Rosemary and Joe Cooley while they were living in Shanghai in 2005. During that visit they gained an introduction to the University of Shanghai’s Printmaking Department, where they met Stella Xu and her father, Xu Longbao, a professor at the university. The visit became an opportunity for the Chinese students and several of their art professors to view Takuji’s prints. Stella Xu translated Takuji’s Japanese for the Chinese group, and the audience was very impressed with Takuji’s work. The Cooleys, Takuji Kubo, Stella Xu and her father, Xu Longbao, became friends and have enjoyed meeting many times in the years since.
In October 2010, Rosemary and Joe attended Shanghai Expo, the 2010 World’s Fair. An exhibition of Chinese Ex Libris prints were shown at the Expo, and the Cooleys were asked by Xu Longbao and the Section Chief of the Municipality of Lujiazui, Mr. Zhou, if they could arrange an exhibition of the prints in the US. In addition, the Shanghai group invited WPG to send a selection of prints to exhibit in Shanghai at a new gallery in Pudong with plans for an additional show at the Shanghai Main Library in Puxi.
WPG is excited to embark on this China-WPG exchange of exhibitions during 2012.