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Released October 5, 2004


HATTIESBURG -- An exhibition to generate a greater understanding and appreciation of the printmaking medium will be on display Oct. 8 through Nov. 6 at The University of Southern Mississippi's Museum of Art.

An opening reception for the Catfish Press National Print Portfolio Exchange exhibition will be held from 4-6 p.m. Oct. 14 in the museum. Southern Miss art alumnus Drew Blancher will give a lecture, hold a question/answer session, and demonstrate printmaking in conjunction with the opening.

Linda Seckinger, professor of art at Mississippi State University, established Catfish Press at MSU in 1988. The Catfish Press Exchange evolved into a national print portfolio project involving 37 invited artists from across the United States.

Selection for project participation was based on the artists' national exhibition records and inclusion in previous national portfolio exchanges, as well as participation in international and national museum and gallery collections.

"The Catfish Press Exchange is a wonderful sampling of contemporary American printmaking," said Mark Rigsby, new interim director of the Museum of Art at Southern Miss. "This exhibition is a fine example of the diverse possibilities unique to printmaking. From etching, engraving, and intaglio, to woodcut, litho, serigraph, and digital collage, this show serves as an exploration of the contemporary printmaking process."

Each participating artist produced a hand-printed edition consisting of 41 individual impressions--meaning 41 individual prints with the same image printed on each one. These prints were sent to Seckinger at MSU for final portfolio assembly.

These artists also included four extra print impressions, along with their original editions. The extra prints were used in four additional print portfolios that will be submitted to national and international museums with the hopes of being included in permanent collections.

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel, the Huntsville Museum of Art, the Ewing Gallery of Art and Architecture, the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and the Bibliothéque Nationale in Paris, France, have already accepted print portfolios for their collections.

"We're really fortunate to have this national print show come to Southern Miss as it includes some of the best printmakers throughout the United States and shows a variety of media," said Deanna Douglas, professor of art at Southern Miss. "It was three years in the making to bring about this portfolio."

Douglas, who designed the colophon page and the catfish logo for the portfolio, is considered a part of the larger project for her contribution. "The colophon page is the title page," Douglas explained. "We actually had it printed the old-fashioned way here in Hattiesburg because Geiger Printing still has an old letterpress which requires the type to be set by hand.

"Because I knew Linda Seckinger when I taught at (Mississippi) State, she asked me to help out. We even built the crates for shipping the portfolios and put the frames together for the exhibition. She has given seminars here at Southern Miss in the Art Department and wanted to have the show made available to our students."

From December 2003 through February 2004, the project prints were on display at Lauren Rogers Museum. The show has also traveled to Arizona State University, California State University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Clemson University, and has been on view at Mississippi State University.

"It will be a feast for the eyes with exciting images and techniques," Douglas assured. "It's work like this that gets both students and faculty fired up to do their own work."

The Museum of Art at Southern Miss is located in the Fine Arts Building at the southwest corner of the campus. The hours are Tues.-Fri., 10 a.m-5 p.m., and Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission to the museum is free and open to the public. School and community group tours are welcome.

For more information or an appointment, call (601) 266-5200.


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November 23, 2004 9:23 AM