The Pennsylvania State University

School of Visual Arts

Printmaking Takes on the Big 10

Alexandra Iosub Print Sybil

Penn State School of Visual Arts MFA Printmaking candidate Alex Iosub becomes Penn State’s fourth printmaking student to participate in the Big 10 printmaking exchange and exhibit, held each year at the Southern Graphics Council Conference. Iosub's piece, "Sybil," is a lithograph with a chine colle of silkscreened Japanese paper.

“I'm researching consciousness as the main feature of humanity (being human), alongside memory, and in-between states (falling asleep, waking up, etc.)," said Iosub. "This print is about self awareness, from a physical point of view.”

The Big 10 Printmaking exchange was initiated by John McCauley, a graduate student in Ohio State’s MFA program. “Inspired by the Big 10 Athletic Conference, this print exchange was intended to display the diverse talent of the universities and create a dialogue amongst them,” states McCauley. “This print exchange is meant to bring artists together, to allow the flow of ideas, and to give the opportunity to highlight the talent of these emerging artists.” Coincidentally the Big 10 has some of the most respected printmaking programs in the country, making the exhibit an important platform for sharing work.

The exchange gives Penn State students a chance to showcase their talent across a national arena. In addition to exchanging work with other students in distinguished programs, the students have their work displayed at the nation’s largest academic-sponsored printmaking conference, Southern Graphics Council International. This year it will be held in San Francisco.

Each year, one student from each school is chosen to represent their program in the print exchange. Jane Hargrave ('12 BFA Printmaking) was selected for the exchange's inaugural year. Hargrave’s print "Starved Rock, Illinois" is a mixed media/linocut. According to Hargrave, “… participating in it was really exciting for me.  An artwork exchange like this is unique to printmaking, since each artist created an edition that was distributed to the other artists. It was very inspiring to receive so much original artwork and to see the variety in the artists’ work. It was also exciting to create an edition of prints knowing that a group of artists I had never met would be receiving my original prints for their personal collections, and hopefully be able to draw inspiration from the prints that I had made.”

Michele Randall ('13 MFA) and Cassie Berringer, a current graduate student, also participated in the exchange. Randall says, “I found the opportunity to represent both my vision as a printmaker, as well as the expertise of Penn State’s printmaking department, personally rewarding.”

What started out as a graduate project for McCauley has turned into a long-term relationship. He will continue to organize the event until the year 2020, amassing approximately 114 prints for a large-scale exhibit.  

Text courtesy of Michele Randall