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Students exhibit work with professional artists

"The Collotype and the Artist's Book," an exhibition showcasing the collaborative work of guest artists and students in the Princeton Atelier, will open with an event from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8, in the Lucas Gallery at the Lewis Center for the Arts, 185 Nassau St.

The exhibition, which runs through Jan. 17, includes monochromatic collotypes and typography pages from Accra Shepp's forthcoming artist's book "Atlas." Copies of the book have been pre-sold to the New York Public Library and Whitney Museum as well as to private collectors. Master printmaker Edward Fausty executed the collotype editions for the book on handmade papers created by Dieu Donné. The six students enrolled in the Atelier and whose work will be included in the exhibition are seniors Tessa Brown, Alexis Collatos, Kelsey Johnson and Arzu Komili, junior Ruth Schwab and freshman Emily Dunlay.

Visual artist, photographer and 1984 Princeton alumnus Accra Shepp along with Fausty, renowned as one of a very small handful of practitioners of the collotype in this country, led the Atelier with Princeton students. Many of the collotypes were produced using a special process of printing photographic images on leaves.

Founded by in 1994 by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, and now directed by distinguished poet Paul Muldoon, the Howard G.B. Clark '21 Professor and chair of the Lewis Center for the Arts, the Atelier program brings professional artists to campus for intensive collaborative work with students and faculty. Atelier artists select a project they want to explore in the company of students before developing it for the professional arts community.

The Atelier experimented with the creation of an artist's book that utilizes the historic photographic process of collotype printing, one of the earliest photomechanical printing processes invented in the late 19th century. Originally a commercial printing process -- often used for early postcards and elaborate high-end art reproductions and books in Asia Europe and America -- collotype printing has experienced a renaissance since the 1970s when its possibilities for fine art photography were first exploited.

Shepp has exhibited in the United States and abroad. In 2006, he participated in a show titled "Artificial Afrika" at Gigantic Art Space in New York City, and he worked on a multimedia installation for the city of Chicago in 2007. He is completing a long-term project documenting tobacco farmers and laborers. His most recent solo exhibition, "In the Loop," was presented at the Chicago City Gallery in 2004.

Shepp has had exhibitions at the Whitney Museum, the African American Museum in Philadelphia and the Art Institute of Chicago. His work is in collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. His work also appeared in The New York Times, Harper's Magazine, Camera Arts and the Sunday Review in London, among other publications. He holds an A.B. in art history and studio art from Princeton and a master's degree in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University.

Fausty, who also is a fine arts photographer, works both as a digital printmaker and as a master of the historic collotype. He has made collotype editions for artists such as Takeshi Kawashima and Kiki Smith. He has had exhibitions at the World Theater Festival in Nancy, France; Gallery Bi-Damas in Osaka, Japan; the Brooklyn Museum of Art; and the Center for Book Arts, Orozimbo Gallery and Paul Sharpe Contemporary Art, all in New York City. His work is represented in the collections of Yale University, Goldman Sachs Inc., the U.S. Library of Congress and the Canadian Center for Architecture.

Collaborating artists Esther K. Smith and Dikko Faust of Purgatory Press, New York, participated in the Atelier and instructed students on traditional bookbinding and the fine art of typography. Working with these artists, students learned how to take photographs with a traditional 19th-century view camera, make digital negatives for collotypes, prepare collotype plates, print using the hand-operated cylinder press in the University's typography studio and assist in various aspects of book production.

The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, will be on view weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, call (609) 258-3697. The exhibition was funded in large part by the Newhouse Foundation, Peter T. Joseph Foundation and 1998 alumna Naomi Waletzky.  

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