“If Constellations Had Been Named in the 20th Century, I Suppose We Would See Bicycles” ****Wood Block and Letterpress Prints by Mike Gill

Curator’s Statement

Often artists produce works that reflect their own personalities.  This is natural because art comes from the brain, heart and soul of the artist. Well, Mike Gill’s charming woodblock prints surely fit this idea.  They celebrate nostalgia, children, wonderments of simple things as well as a love for bicycles.  These works should actually be viewed in person, for they are not about computer screens, reading from Nooks or such. They are about paper, about the richness of print media in its historic sense and the ability to touch and hold something made by human hands.

Gill is masterful with beautiful compositions that are sophisticated and intelligent, yet they still retain a feeling of humanity in a folk art way. Rich layers, textures and homage to the media that makes this art, renders handsome pieces to hang on a wall. Like a conversation with the artist himself, Gill’s unpretentious work induces smiles and warm feelings, celebrating the good things in life.

 

Artist Statement

Wood block and letterpress printing in the 21st century is not the utilitarian pursuit it was when those technologies were commercially current.  Instead, they’ve become a realm of experimentation and a wayfor artists to empower themselves as publishers.  Michael Gill came to print making as a writer, looking for a way to reproduce stories for his own children.  In addition to publishing artist books, he uses the media to upcycle and recycle imagery, layering and overprinting in broadside collages.

What all the images in this virtual exhibit have in common are bicycles.  Like the printing press, Gill considers the bicycle to be one of Mankind’s greatest inventions.  As one of the poster-collages below says: “A Bicycle is a Gyroscope that Takes You Places.”  The title of this exhibit is a quotation from astronomer Carl Sagan.

Gill’s works are in public and private collections: the Cleveland Public Library Special Collection, Cleveland Art Association (CARTA), and the Cuyahoga County Administration Building.  Commissions include the Ohio Arts Council.  He has participated in exhibits at the Morgan Conservatory, Zygote Press, Beck Center for the Arts (Zygote Press Print Expedition), Breakneck Art, and others, and has had solo shows at BAYarts and William Busta Gallery.  In Fall 2014 he will travel to Dresden Germany as part of the Ohio Arts Council’s month-long residency program there.  Late in 2014 he will exhibit with Liz Maugans at Loren Naji Studio Gallery.  His artist books, including Common Household Rhymes for the Modern Child (below) are exhibited at William Busta Gallery.

Michael Gill is editor and publisher of CAN Journal, the quarterly magazine about art in Northeast Ohio, a collaborative venture with more than 70 member galleries contributing.  CAN Journal’s annual benefit party features a massive gallery vs. gallery corn hole tournament, taking place Friday, July 25, 2014 at the Morgan Conservaoty.  Tickets are available, and CAN Journal can be found online at canjournal.org.

1-carpe-bike-ride-gill

Carpe Bike Ride

wood block and letterpress print on cotton/abaca paper handmade at the Morgan Conservatory by Tom
Balbo

14″w X 18″h

$200.

2-gyroscope-that-takes-you-places-gill

A Bicycle is a Gyroscope that Takes You Places.

wood block and letterpress print

12″w X 16″h

$150.

3-great-lakes-courier-gill

Great Lakes Courier

wood block and letterpress print

commemorating the launch of a newspaper about bicycles in Northeast Ohio, featuring Bike Cleveland, the Cleveland Velodrome, Ohio City Bicycle Co-Op, and more

14″w X 12″h

$25.

4-people-on-bikes

People on Bikes series

linoleum block and letterpress, French-fold books featuring quotations about bicycles from famous
writers and thinkers including Carl Sagan, Ernest Hemingway, Somerset Maugham, Susan B. Anthony,
and many others

3.25″w X 4.25″h, set of 10

$35.

5-flying-gill

Flying on our Bikes

wood block print from Common Household Rhymes for the Modern Child

image: 5.5″w X 6.25″ h on paper 11″w X 14″h

$75.

6-pavement-gill

On the Pavement

wood block print from Common Household Rhymes for the Modern Child

image: 5.5″w X 6.25″ h on paper 11″w X 14″h

$75.

7-detour-gill (2)

A Little Detour

wood block print from Common Household Rhymes for the Modern Child

image: 5.5″w X 6.25″ h on paper 11″w X 14″h

$75.

8-miles-and-miles-gill

We Go for Miles and Miles

wood block print from Common Household Rhymes for the Modern Child

image: 5.5″w X 6.25″h on paper 11″w X 14″h

$75.

9-gyroscopic-gill

A Gyroscopic Feeling

wood block print from Common Household Rhymes for the Modern Child

image: 5.5″w X 6.25″h on paper 11″w X 14″h

$75

10-common-household-rhymes-gill

Common Household Rhymes for the Modern Child

wood block and letterpress book written, illustrated, printed, and bound by the author

featuring 17 original prints, edition of 100

$250.

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