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The E/AB Fair – An Exclusive Interview


1. When and why was the E/AB Fair established?
DK: The fair was established in 1998 by Susan Inglett of I.C. Editions, in partnership with Brooke Alexander Gallery and Printed Matter.  The founders were interested in showing the very latest in fine prints, artists’ books, and editioned objects by emerging and established artists.  Participants have been mainly publishers, as opposed to dealers.  These are typically small businesses that pour their heart and soul in the projects with artists they want to support.  They are the printers and producers of the projects, so a visitor to the fair would have a full insight into the process, the thinking, behind each work on exhibit by talking to them.  This is why, from the very beginning, the fair has had great support from museum and institutional curators.
2. How do you think the fair has grown over the years?

DK: As the art market grew and changed, more and more print studios became publishers as well. Each year, we have new studios joining the fair and contributing new energy and enthusiasm for the field.

3. Exhibitors at the fair include many of the world’s leading print studios and master printers. What are the key criteria for printmakers and institutions to exhibit at the fair?

DK: Quality of artwork!  In the past three years we have worked with outside curators, who have each contributed to the quality of the selection.

4. At each fair there is a benefit print. Tell us about this year’s benefit print and the artist who created it.

DK: Philip Taaffe is a renowned American artist whose career spans over three decades, and who has participated in two Sydney Biennials and three Whitney Biennials, among other notable shows.  He is represented by Luhring Augustine Gallery, NY.  His work is inspired by nature, multiple cultures, and his extensive travels.  While primarily a painter, he has engaged with printmaking throughout his career.  In fact, as a young artist in the 1980’s he made work at the Lower East Side Printshop, and still has a very special place in our hearts.

In his signature fashion, Taaffe screenprinted the two benefit prints, but with each passing of the squeegee he modified the paint.  As a result, each proof is slightly different in terms of color variations.

5. What are the proceeds from the sale of the benefit print used for?

DK: Except for the opening night reception, admission to the E/AB Fair is free.  Proceeds from the sales of the benefit prints help us maintain the free admission.

6. What are you most looking forward to for this year’s fair?

DK: Seeing our fellow printers and publishers from all over the country and abroad.  Many of us have been friends for years.  I love catching up with everyone, and seeing what they’ve made.  Often times, there are prints and projects just completed in the days before the fair.  I look forward to meeting new publishers, such as Warren Editions from Cape Town, Petrichor Press from Philadelphia, and Crow’s Shadow Press from Pendleton, OR, to name a few.

7. How do you think printmaking has developed in recent years?

DK: Artists are truly exploring everything!  It’s very refreshing to see all the new hybrid combinations of techniques and materials.

8. Many important and established artists have created bodies of prints during their career. What do you think printmaking brings to the creative art process?

DK: It’s a different approach to ones work.  For some, it’s about planning ahead.  Some are attracted to the boundaries of a screen or a plate, and like to experiment and play within them.  There is also the collaborative process with a printer.  Artists like to come out of their studios occasionally and work with others, decision-making becomes easier.

9. How do you see printmaking has developed, especially with the increased use of technology and new printmaking techniques?

DK: It’s nice to have new tools in the box.  I am seeing all the media being explored these days. Digital tools have become irreplaceable in the prep and photo work.  But, we still make traditional cyanotypes and etchings.

10. What is the place for traditional printmaking techniques for today’s artists?

DK: They are very important.  You will see every imaginable technique in this year’s fair—linocut, traditional Japanese woodcut, letterpress, etching, inkjet, photogravure, collage—a very wide range. Artists are curious to experiment, and printers ever eager for new challenges.

Visit the fair here.