A Season of Print Practice

Three new exhibitions to open across both gallery locations this April 

A woodblock print by Zorawar Sidhu and Rob Swainston, depicting a layering of images including a candlelight vigil, protesters holding signs reading "No Justice No Peace" and "Hands Up Don't Shoot", and sunflowers.

Zorawar Sidhu and Rob Swainston, May 28, 2021. Multi-color woodblock on paper,  45 1/4  57 1/2 inches. Courtesy of the artists and Petzel Gallery. 

Published January 30, 2024

Buffalo, NY — The University at Buffalo Art Galleries are proud to announce three upcoming exhibitions with artists who focus on printmaking, multiples, and layers. Zorawar Sidhu and Rob Swainston: History is Present will open at UB Anderson Gallery on April 6, 2024 and run through July 26, 2024. At UB CFA Gallery Yoonmi Nam: Among Other Things and Wuon-Gean Ho: The Heart’s Sight open on April 18, 2024 and run through June 21, 2024. 

These solo exhibitions demonstrate the incredible variety within printmaking, and how time-intensive processes like carving, etching, and making matrices translate beyond paper and fabric to wood and ceramics. These works, predominately produced since 2020, reckon with a splintering world, giving space to examine—through repetition of form and recalibration of image—the continuing COVID-19 health emergency, alienation and otherness, protests, insurrections, and the meaning that can be drawn in community, in solidarity, and in contemplative action.

“Wuon-Gean Ho, Yoonmi Nam, and Zorawar Sidhu and Rob Swainston are all brilliant artists, and they are also educators,” says Anna Wager, UB Art Galleries Curator of Exhibitions. “Their work widely expands what we think of as printmaking. Woodblocks that are huge in scale, lithographs that are hand-sized, tyvek sheets that appear as metal and ceramics that appear as takeout containers: the range here is hard to contain in a few sentences. We are thrilled to be working with such a talented cohort, and are thrilled for their work to connect with UB students, researchers, and the Buffalo-Niagara community.”

Information about each exhibition follows.Yoonmi Nam: Among Other Things
UB CFA First-Floor Gallery

Yoonmi Nam’s work is a study in observation and objects. She deconstructs, venerates, and contemplates “everyday” vessels from takeout containers to cardboard boxes, constructing still lifes and abstract pieces. Through observation, these objects that we routinely handle, display, and discard take on a second life, one that prompts us to consider things that we have been conditioned to ignore. The pieces are durational, layered over time, suggesting something both fleeting and eternal. As living beings, humans are impermanent. Nam argues that by surrounding ourselves with a collection of things, we are able to feel a sense of permanence through these arrangements. While our cultural artifacts give us comfort, products like Styrofoam, plastic packaging, and Amazon boxes, though smartly designed with specific functions, are also structured to be discarded. This contradiction is central to Nam’s work, and the arrangements of her objects reference Korean history and value, as seen in nineteenth-century 책거리 (chaekgeori) painting, translated as still lifes of “books and things”. Though initially focused on books, and the promotion of Korea as a learned, bibliophilic society, chaekgeori  broadly speak to value and veneration of objects that society has deemed meaningful. Turning cardboard and Tyvek into abstract sculpture, and takeout boxes into celadon glazed ceramics, Nam deconstructs objects we know well, using them as templates for pressure printing and moulds for casting. Her work asks us how we might re-think value, for objects that are meant to be impermanent.  


Wuon-Gean Ho: The Heart’s Sight
UB CFA Second-Floor Gallery

Wuon-Gean Ho is compelled by the idea of remembering—or rather, of not forgetting. She has described the moments she depicts as nodal moments, holding and encapsulating specific, visceral, and tactile feelings, while also standing in for bigger scenes. We all have these moments, which so often coalesce around the senses, particularly touch: coming into contact, handling in wanted or unwanted ways, or taking a small amount. Or “touched”: feeling moved through gratitude or sympathy, past actions, or being a little off-kilter. The title plays on the idea of the heart’s eye as an object of desire, the heart’s sigh as a lament or a rush of joy, and finally the heart’s sight: what we sense and the deepness of that sensing. These sensory explorations are embedded in Ho’s diary series, with meticulously carved and inked prints that are small, touchable, and intimate. These works morphed during the COVID-19 pandemic to become a method of connection at a point when we were cut off from the outside world. Their reportage aspect brings us into her lived experience, and encompass strands of life as varied as grief, solo navigation, dance, movement, feeling like an outsider, feeling like an insider, sleep, the importance of animals, swimming, comfort eating, comfort in general, and being in nature. Previous work also includes meditations on dance, clothing as a cultural signifier, the power of storytelling, and the tactility of bodies. Her most recent work also considers Dante’s Divina Commedia and building meaning in the circles of hell. Ho’s work in this exhibition encompasses linocuts, screenprints, artist books, and video. 


Zorawar Sidhu and Rob Swainston: History is Present 
UB Anderson Gallery

In History is Present, Zorawar Sidhu and Rob Swainston’s large scale woodcut prints layer art historical references with contemporary catastrophes: America’s political climate, the continuing aftermath of the pandemic, environmental devastation, and erosion of bodily autonomy. They document horrors that we become immune to, and prompt us to reckon with them. New large format works join their series Doomscrolling, 18 moments collected between May 24th, 2020, and January 6th, 2021, carved and printed from plywood that had been used to board up NYC. The phenomena of doomscrolling, a term which has gained popularity since 2020, is the process of taking in massive amounts of negative information while scrolling on your devices, particularly phones. This informational overwhelm can cause panic at the piling on of images and injustices, which can then cause passivity and numbness. “Scrolling” is a non-active process. But printmaking is inherently active, and prints have a long history of use in protest, activism, and anti-authoritarian dissent. By rendering our recent history at a large scale, in layers that draw in references from printmakers such as Albrecht Dürer and Käthe Kollwitz, Sidhu and Swainston draw our attention back to images that we may have forgotten in the scroll. The overlaying of details from images compress our scrolling into one composite object, giving it the time, space, and emotional depth that it deserves. This exhibition will open two days before the 2024 total eclipse, along with works from our permanent collection that explore the vastness, terror, and possibility of the celestial. 


About UB Art Galleries

The University at Buffalo Art Galleries’ mission is to support art and ideas that are urgent and relevant to our time and place. A unique art museum with locations in the Center for the Arts and UB Anderson Gallery, UB Art Galleries presents year-round exhibitions, providing students and the broader community access to thought-provoking art, visiting artists, and stimulating educational programs. With a growing collection and archives, UB Art Galleries provides experiential learning opportunities for students, faculty, and researchers. Learn more about how UB Art Galleries advances art as both inquiry and creative practice available to everyone at ubartgalleries.buffalo.edu