past and present / artist and master printer

Past / Present
Brent Bond / Santo Press
A Retrospective (1995-2010)

Sometimes you can tell what someone does for a living by the type of energy they carry in their body. When I met Brent Bond, in 2008 at Segura Publishing, I knew he was a printmaker.

Brent worked with me to produce a  limited edition print commissioned by the University of Notre Dame. He made everything clear and simple, all I really had to focus on was drawing. When I arrived to Segura’s in Tempe, to sign the edition, the prints were set up and ready. Brent handed me several finely sharpened pencils and a white eraser. He called out numbers, and I signed 25 prints. Helpful. Efficient. He also took me through the well-organized studio and finally he showed me prints from their collection. Yes, *printmaker qualities emanated from the man.

You can imagine my surprise when I walked into Modified Arts last week, on the last day of his show Past and Present… and saw Brent does so much more. He’s not only a Master Printer and the proprietor of →  Santo Press, he’s also a multi-media artist.
The exhibit was separated into two main areas…

Master Printer / Santo Press
A variety of wonderful relief prints filled the entrance: in color, in black ink, on white stock, and on off white. I recognized many of the artists including Veronica Villanueva, Andrea Evans, Dominic Miller, and Donna Atwood. Established in May of 2009,  Santo Press collaborates with regionally and nationally recognized artists to create limited edition fine art prints. They specialize in the small-scale, relief print. Brent refers to works as both high and low art, high quality / low price. The catch phrase for the press, What a Relief!, expresses more of his wit.

Click on image to see more prints.↓

Verónica Villanueva

Andrea Evans

Dominic Miller

Donna Atwood

Brent Bond

Exit Strategy

 

Multi-Media Artist
As I move through the entrance area, to the other side of the gallery…I’m pleased to see Brent’s multi-media art work. One slow look around the space I note prints, photography, assemblage, and installation. I recognize everyday objects mixed in with religious iconography. I appreciate titles, many of  them are humorous, and they help me to recognize influences.

A few titles, with images below:

  • The Three I’s in Narcissistic
  • For the Love of Peace and a Piece of Love
  • The Fashion of Worship and the Worship of Fashion

He toys with size, image, material, color, and word, the sacred and the not so sacred. He does so with rich imagination and intelligence. He creates, questions, comments and he informs.

Reserved Seating, 1997

Reserved Seating (above) shows three (out of  a set of 12) desks. Brent has carved/printed images right onto the desk tops.  I would guess he’s inked them directly and wiped  them, just like one might ink and wipe a copper plate.
The text along the back of the chair inform me of the image.  Justa and Rufina, St. Thomas Garnet, and St Benjamin, martyrs and saints.

St. Thomas Garnet

St Benjamin

Directly across the room another work catches my eye, framed book pages strung from the ceiling by a cadmium red tie.

Selections from "The Pages" - 1999

Broad areas of text are lined out and content is altered.

P. 85

In another area is an assemblage titled Our Lady of Sunday Morning Savings (below). It incorporates coupons into what looks like  a religious relic of hanging scapulars. Right now I wish I had a detail to show you, I liked it so much.  I even like the shadow.

Our Lady of Sunday Morning Savings, 1998

Brent Bond is a Master Printer and he’s an object maker…photographer, assemblagist, and business proprietor. The exhibit showcased prints from his publishing company Santo Press, and 45 of his own works that spanned over 15 years of time. Brent says of his work…

The self-imposed challenge is to create works that have the power to engage the viewers’ mind as much as their eyes. The conceptual approach involves questioning visual and cultural perceptions, social critique and commentary through satire and humor, and the re-functioning/reinterpreting of popular and religious visual iconography.

Bravo Brent, it seems you succeeded on all counts.

Oh…add new father to the mix. He very recently had his second son. And there’s so much more…take some time and go through is website, cause he’s one busy, talented, and ambitious artist.

conception to delivery, a windy liver

wlprints

I have a windy liver, Maria said. A what?  A windy liver, she repeated. I practice yoga with Maria and a group of about a dozen yogi’s. Every Tuesday we meet for three re-energizing hours to hand-stand, back-bend and twist the afternoon away. Apparently Maria had things going on and decided to see an Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine practitioner. The outcome was this diagnosis of a Windy Liver.

Ironically the day before I had painted livers blue-liver( not windy ones) as part of a new series titled Vital Commotion, concerning the body-mind connection. Her words resonated visually. Serendipity!

I had to take a pause, because although it got my imagination going, it was for Maria, a personal diagnosis. I prodded, curiously but respectfully. Maria didn’t seem to mind. She did not really know much about the condition.  As usually happens in the Practice everyone chimed in with what one knew about the ailment, or what one thought it could mean. Meg, our instructor, is an Ayurvedic consultant.  She explained some, but it was all still abstract to me.

I wondered if I would be annoyed to be diagnosed with a windy liver or would I be relieved. Maria told us about her treatment, it included sesame oil, I think. I came home and immediately began researching windy livers.

I had purchased some small copper sheets the week before, thinking I might work on a print soon. Little did I know an idea would present itself. Printmaking not only allows immediacy and spontaneity, it also allows wit and lightheartedness in some odd way.  I think this is because initially the earliest forms of printmaking began with the press and from it sprang political satire, its history allows for an easy balance of intelligence and simplicity.

After a few days of research, I formulated a design and scratched it onto the plate.  I worked in my studio, non-stop, and the image just rolled right out. One of the necessities for making a print is to be able to work in reverse. I realized only after I had done it, that the various organs, including a liver, a liver lobule, a gallbladder and spleen were not in reverse.  I knew when I ran the print it would print backwards. But this worked, after all –   imbalance of some sort – is what a windy liver is all about.

I recall I was listening to Mana, a Mexican musical group, for the first time. I was trying to understand the words as I worked on the plate, they were in Spanish. The music seemed fluid and ephemeral, the words poetic.  I had my dictionary with me, and as  I made sense of phrases, I put some of them into the border of the image. The words have to do with earth, rain, fire and air – tierra, agua, fuego, y aire – the elements. This too connected (according to my research). I drew the words in reverse so they would print readable.  This has always been easy for me, to write backwards.  It comes in handy in printmaking.

the print

the print

I pulled a dozen simple prints and brought them back into my studio.  And I began hand- painting one and then two. The first one is titled, Her Diagnosis-A Windy Liver.

windyliverwhite2windyliverblue21

A figure stands as the focal point, on a world of hearts. Areas of the body are in flames. The body is disconnected and disjointed because it is being reset.
Symbols of mind, body and spirit take up space somewhere in the composition, as do literal cells, nerves, and organs.  The figure holds up its hands, open and ready, no fight or flight present.

Not long after I completed these works my friend Andrea, from The Store over at the Mesa Art’s Center, called.  MAC had purchased my lithograph for their permanent collection and she had just seen it. I didn’t know you made prints! Now and again I do, I said. Do you have any small prints I can carry for the upcoming opening? I delivered 7 prints to Andrea within a week, just in time for the opening Print exhibit, in the main gallery.
You can see and or purchase this print along with others in The Store, at MAC.

Maria is doing better, going towards balance. Namaste Maria.