McClain Gallery is delighted to announce that John Alexander has been invited to work at the Rice University Printmaking Studio.  Over a period of days in late March, Alexander will work alongside Patrick Masterson, Master Printer at Burning Bones Press; Karin Broker, Professor of Printmaking at Rice University and Patrick Palmer, Director of MFAH’s Glassell School of Art and accomplished printmaker, to create a series of monotypes at Rice’s state of the art printmaking studio.  During set visiting hours, the public will have the unique opportunity to interact and observe as Alexander paints on the plates and prints are pulled by Masterson, Broker and Palmer.  

For this project Alexander will create a series of prints documenting various stages of his drawing process, inspired in part by a recent encounter with Pablo Picasso’s lithographic portfolio The Bull (Le Taureau),1946 in the Menil Collection’s exhibition Picasso The Line in Fall of 2016. Monotypes are an interesting hybrid process that combines both print and drawing/painting.  As Alexander works fluidly between both large scale paintings and naturalistically rendered drawings, this medium lends itself well to his process.  Monotypes are produced by the artist painting the image directly onto a metal plate which is then transferred onto paper via a large press.  Instead of creating a small edition of prints, the result of monotype printing is a single unique image.  A “ghost image” or remnant from the previous inking is left on the plate which can be reworked by the artist.

John Alexander

A Beaumont native, Alexander received a BFA from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas and an MFA from Southern Methodist University. Alexander taught at the University of Houston in the 70s, then moved to New York in the early 80s where he has lived and worked since.  A recipient of National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowships, his work is included in the permanent collections of leading museums around the nation including the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in D.C., the Museum of Contemporary Art in L.A., the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Dallas Museum of Art and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans.

John Alexander's early works were primarily semi-abstract landscapes, and later, dense, expressionistic paintings. His more recent drawings and paintings include beautifully rendered birds, plants and animals (often those native to Texas and the Southern Gulf Coast states), and satirical works of characters and masked figures representing the most sinister members of society.

Alexander had a major retrospective at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston in 2007-2008.  His work is collected by numerous private individuals and corporations throughout the country.  The monotypes resulting from the print project at Rice University will also be on view at McClain Gallery during Print Houston in May of 2017.

Karin Broker 

Originally from Penn, Pennsylvania, Karin Broker received a BFA from the University of Iowa and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  She also studied printmaking under Stanley W. Hayter at the Atelier 17 in Paris. Broker came to Rice University in 1980 to teach printmaking and drawing and became only the second primary printmaker (after her predecessor Swiss artist Dadi Wirtz) in the history of printmaking at Rice. As a master printer, Karin has worked with such artists as Alice Neel, Pat Steir, Garo Antreasian and Ed Ruscha.  

In addition to printmaking, Broker is an accomplished draftsman, sculptor and mixed media artist.  Best known for her oversize drawings of lush, overripe blooms and singular flowers and her painstakingly handmade sculptures using found materials, her work weaves in themes of femininity, beauty, and optimism with severity, gender stereotypes, and loss.  Her artwork is in public collections nationwide including Brooklyn Museum of Art, McNay Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution, New York Public Library, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Blanton Museum of Art and many others. Solo exhibitions at McClain Gallery include Dark Talk (2003), Mad Girl (2006), Oddities and Other Opinions (2010) and damn girls (2014). A series of new collages by Karin Broker will be exhibited at McClain Gallery in 2018.

History of the Print Department at Rice University

Printmaking at Rice University had previously been housed on the 4th and 5th floors of Sewall Hall until about 17 years ago when it was moved to the 2nd floor courtyard of Sewall Hall.   This new location was coined "the print palace" due to the plethora of beautiful stainless steel/glass tables and its wall of glass French doors.  Karin Broker was given the opportunity to design the room as a professional print shop rather than an undergraduate student printmaking classroom.  This design has permitted artists to produce larger scaled works.  Students produce lithographs, etchings, photogravures, mono prints and linocuts in this spacious room.  

The Rice printmaking department has hosted 4-6 Roundtable panels and discussions per academic year for the last 15 years with Nationally and Internationally recognized artists.  They regularly collaborate with the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Glassell School of Art, The Museum of Printmaking History, The Menil Collection and numerous Houston Galleries.  Recent visiting speakers include printmakers from Flatbed Press in Austin, Burning Bones in Houston and others.