U.Va. Studio Art Inaugurates Ruffin Gallery With Exhibit by Printmakers Karen Kunc and Annu Vertanen

September 16, 2008

September 16, 2008 — The University of Virginia's McIntire Department of Art will inaugurate its new Ruffin Gallery with an exhibition of works by celebrated printmakers Karen Kunc and Annu Vertanen. "The Indeterminate Edge" opens Sept. 22 and runs through Oct. 24. A Final Fridays reception will be held on Sept. 26 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Ruffin Gallery is in Ruffin Hall, the new home of U.Va.'s studio art program, located at 179 Culbreth Road.

Vertanen, a Finish artist, is "one of the most important printmakers in the world today," Dean Dass, associate chairman of studio art and professor of printmaking, said. She has won numerous international awards and has exhibited widely in Europe and the United States, including exhibits at the U.Va.'s former Fayerweather Gallery in 1997 and 2000.

Her large-scale installation woodcuts often include video elements and embody ideas of space and self-consciousness.

Describing "The Day of Absence," one of the installation pieces included in the exhibit, Vertanen said, "My goal is to offer an opportunity to watch what happens when one watches. That is the space within that opens up toward the world (or how we see the world)."

Kunc, the Cather Professor of Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has taught workshops and had more than 90 solo exhibits around the world.

She creates hybrid woodcuts, which she often presents as diptychs, allowing the pieces to "talk" to each other. Kunc uses European oil-based inks, etching processes and modified reduction techniques, a process where the artist employs one block that is successively cut away after each color is printed, rather than printing with a number of cut blocks. She prints on Asian paper to create veiled, transparent apparition-like compositions that seem to float over the paper.

The title of the exhibit is taken from one of Kunc's works, "The Indeterminate Edge," in which surface images and edges are blurred.

Kunc describes her work as an exploration of the "interpretation and contemplation on larger issues of the eternal life struggle, of endurance and vulnerability, growth and destruction. My hope is that these larger concepts are provoked by viewing my work with a poetic and intelligent sense of wonder."

During their visit to U.Va., Vertanen and Kunc will lead graphic and printmaking workshops for intermediate and advanced studio art students. The department will print a limited-edition book, "Into the Forest," to showcase the collaborative work produced during their residencies.

Karen Kunc will lecture about her work on Sept. 18, 6:30 p.m. in Campbell Hall, Room 160 and
Annu Vertanen will speak on Oct. 2 at 6:30 p.m. in Campbell Hall, Room 160.

The talks are free and open to the public. Free parking is available after 5 p.m. in the Culbreth Parking Garage.

For information about the exhibit and artists residencies, contact the McIntire Department of Art at 434-924-6123.