Cade Tompkins Projects is pleased to present an exhibition of new and recent prints by Stella Ebner. And & With features screen prints, water-based woodblock prints, and watercolor monoprints, exploring the inherent qualities of printmaking to examine how imagery in our society is created and conveyed within the context of a deep appreciation for the moments that are left outside the picture frame - the overlooked, the forgotten.
In the screen prints, Ebner is interested in pushing the boundaries of the medium by overlapping multiple transparent pigments that build to form the whole. The distinctive overlay of color and imagery that printmaking allows, gives rise to new and unexpected forms and relationships, as in The Thin Model Trick Parts 1 and 2, where she quite literally confines the protagonist and splits the frame in two. In Making Starring Night, Ebner disrupts the traditional relationship of subject and object of the male gaze by objectifying the male figure, transforming Starry Night from painting to print, and deconstructing it into pieces of a puzzle.
In the more recent woodblock and watercolor monoprints, Ebner explores the overlapping boundaries and relationships between the human and the animal within contemporary American life. As Ebner explains, The inspiration for these prints is embodied in both the Japanese woodblock bird-and-flower prints and surimono prints, specifically the surimono prints that depict still life imagery. These prints explored the complex lives of animals, birds and insects and their relationship with the natural world. I am interested in pulling such imagery into the contemporary world, where the beauty of animals and nature are viewed through the prism of the American every day.
Within each image is an element of still life. In Peonies, Dragonfly Vase, and Common House Spider, for example, a spider quietly makes its home in an acupuncturist’s waiting room — highlighting this overlooked relationship through the beauty of the vase and flowers. In Pole Beans and Mexican Bean Beatle Damage, the viewer is left with only traces of the insects’ presence on account of the damaging holes they have left across a topography of plant leaves. In Cricket, Glass and Business Reply Mail, an unwanted cricket has been caught under a drinking glass, a business reply mail card has been slid underneath the glass. The reply card will eventually be used to carry the cricket back into the natural world. Prints from this series also explore the use of animals in search and rescue missions, as companions, as tattoo imagery, and as sources for food.
Stella Ebner is Associate Professor of Art and Design and the Chair of the Printmaking Department at Purchase College SUNY, NY. She earned her BFA from the University of Minnesota (1998) and her MFA in Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design (2006). Ebner recently received a MI-LAB residency at Lake Kawaguchi, Japan, and has held residencies at Tamarind Institute, NM; the Lower East Side Printshop, NYC; Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Studio Program, NYC; and Kala Art Institute, Berkeley, CA. Her work is in the collections of The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH; Minnesota Museum of American Art, St. Paul, MN; the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN; Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, MN; University of St. Thomas, MN; and the Kala Art Institute, Berkeley, CA, among others.