Works by pioneer printmaker inspired by travels to Europe, Kansas and other places coming to Beach Museum of Art
Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018
"Navajo Land" is a color block print, 9 1/2 inches by 14 inches, by artist Norma Bassett Hall in 1947. The print is part of the exhibition "Chipping the Block, Painting the Silk: The Prints of Norma Bassett Hall" that opens Aug. 7 at Kansas State University's Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art. The work is a gift from Mosby Lincoln Foundation to the Wichita Art Museum. | Download this photo.
MANHATTAN — A traveling exhibition of works by artist Norma Bassett Hall, the only female founding member of the Prairie Print Makers, the Kansas-based organization established during the Great Depression to promote American artists' work, will make a stop at Kansas State University's Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art.
"Chipping the Block, Painting the Silk: The Prints of Norma Bassett Hall" will run Aug. 7 through Dec. 15 in the Beach Museum of Art's Wefald Gallery. Works displayed are from the first solo exhibition of Hall's work since her death in 1957. Guest curator of the exhibition is Joby Patterson, an art historian based in Eugene, Oregon, and author of a book about the artist.
Born in Halsey, Oregon, in 1888, Hall was a watercolorist and oil painter, but her greatest love was printmaking. After studying at the School of the Portland Art Association and graduating from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she spent two years in Europe where she learned techniques of Japanese color block printing. She returned with husband and fellow printmaker Arthur Hall to live in Kansas, and later New Mexico, where she became part of the pioneer movement in the development of screen printing.
Hall was educated in early 20th-century America when the arts and crafts movement was all the rage. This training is revealed in her Japanese-influenced compositions and printing methods, according to Patterson, who also noted that Hall found inspiration in the diverse landscapes that she encountered in her extensive travels. The artist loved figural representation, particularly of subjects from other countries, and she always explored the possibilities of color. Patterson said many of the prints Hall made are unique in their range of hues.
Patterson has been a scholar of American printmaking for more than 30 years. Her 2002 book "Bertha E. Jaques and the Chicago Society of Etchers" was followed by her 2014 book, "Norma Bassett Hall: Catalogue Raisonné of Block Prints," whichtraces the adventurous and creative life of Hall and her husband.
As guest curator of "Chipping the Block, Painting the Silk: The Prints of Norma Bassett Hall", Patterson will share her decade of adventures researching Hall and organizing an exhibition about her work in a presentation from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Beach Museum of Art. A book signing will follow.
Also related to the exhibition will be the interactive display, "Japanese Woodblock Printing in the West," from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Beach Museum of Art. The display is part of the Art in Motion festival, a free celebration of art for everyone.
The Beach Museum of Art, at 14th Street and Anderson Avenue, is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free and free parking is available adjacent to the museum.