Hot Off The Press: PrintMatters' "Hot Houston, Cool Prints (Second Edition)"

They say one (wo)man's trash is another (wo)man's treasure, and Lari Gibbons has to agree. The Associate Professor of Studio Arts at the University of North Texas stumbled upon a 150-year-old clamshell press that had been left for dead in an abandoned driveway. Gibbons saw its potential and took it back to her university studio to give it a second life.

The press became the inspiration for the upcoming group exhibition "Second Edition" which is a part of the "Hot Houston, Cool Prints" summer series juried by Patrick Palmer, the Head of Drawing for the University of St. Thomas. "Second Edition," which literally is the second part of this series, opens this Friday at the Museum of Printing History with an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m.

Gibbons and four of her graduate students spent the past several months restoring old letter presses aged between 60 and 160 years old. Once the presses were restored, Gibbons and the artists used them to create original works of art in their own varying personal styles. The artist Cat Snapp, for example, has used the presses to build densely layered prints that bring to mind the complications of personal relationships.

Another artist in the series, Christopher Wallace, used the presses to build a visual narrative of the history of the entire project. Meanwhile, by taking the diagrams the group created to keep track of the press parts during renovation, Gibbons has created her own body of work. The work of all five artists is a creative development compounded by the act of creation, proving that art is not just in the method or tools, but in the history behind those aspects as well.

Second Edition runs Friday, August 5 through September 30 at the Museum of Printing History and is free. For information, visit www.printingmuseum.org or call 713-522-4652.

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