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The Exhibitions at the Museum of Printing History

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Russell Maret: Interstices and Intersections or, An Autodidact Comprehends a Cube

June 26, 2014– September 20, 2014

The Printing Museum is pleased to present "Russell Maret: Interstices & Intersections or, An Autodidact Comprehends a Cube", the latest fine press publication by New York City-based artist Russell Maret. Comprised of the artistís notes, sketches, watercolors, proof prints, in addition to tools used in contemporary letterpress printing practices, this exhibition illustrates the creative process of producing a hand-printed, hand-bound edition from sketch to completion.

"Interstices & Intersections" is inspired by Euclidís classic text "The Elements of Geometry", which dates from around 300 BC. Divided into thirteen books, "The Elements" contains roughly 450 propositions (theorems) that have formed the basic principles of geometry, as well as structured modern understanding of theoretical concepts. Each proposition is illustrated with diagrams that, over the centuries, have become the standard illustrations used to help prove each proposition. Maret argues that "The Elementsí" reliance on both text and image make it an ideal model for the contemporary artist book.

In "Interstices & Intersections", Maret has selected 13 propositions, one from each book of "The Elements", and paired them with his own illustrations and companion text. His method for working on the project draws from skills acquired in his tenth grade classroom, where he learned to comprehend a text through making drawings, thus forming the foundation for his lifeís work as an illustrator, printer, and book designer.

"Interstices & Intersections" is evidence, not only of Maretís artistic creativity, but also of his mastery of materials and technique. To achieve the look of depth and light, Maret mixes his own ink using hand ground pigments and creates the plates from drawn textures and photographically transferred tones and outlines. Then through a complex layering of varying hues, Maret builds the image into a stunningly luminous letterpress print. Each spread required up to 19 press runs, registered with expert precision. Comprised of 30 spreads, the book required some 225 press runs, translating into tens of thousands of hand cranks of the Vandercook Universal III to complete the edition. In the same way "The Elements" lays out a theorem, illustrated with drawings, the exhibition sets out to prove the proposition that Russell Maret is the foremost letterpress printer of his generation.

Major support for The Printing Museum operations and programming is provided by the Houston Endowment, Inc., The Wortham Foundation, Inc., The Brown Foundation, Inc., and Mid-America Arts Alliance. The Printing Museum is funded by grants from the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance. Additional support is generously provided by the George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation, the Kinder Morgan Foundation, the Albert and Ethel Herztein Foundation, CenterPoint Energy, Clampitt Paper, InfoVine Inc., Copy.Com, Spindletop Design, and Whole Foods Market.

Image Caption: Spread of Proposition xi.38 from "Interstices & Intersections or, An Autodidact Comprehends a Cube", 2014; Letterpress, 14 x 22 in.; Photograph courtesy of Annie Schlechter.


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