On view: March 4 - April 11, 2009
Curated by: Andrew McCord and Mark Baron
Seeing God in Prints is the sixth presentation in IPCNY's International Exhibition Series, which was launched in 2003 with Traces and Traditions: Vietnamese Woodblock Prints. Subsequent presentations include ¡Impresionante! Innovative Prints by Contemporary Puerto Rican Artists, Moscow Grafika: Artists' Prints 1961-2005, New Editions Scotland: Contemporary Artists' Prints from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee, and Graphic Reality: Mexican Printmaking Today.
During the late nineteenth century, India established a printing industry devoted to producing images of Hindu gods and goddesses. In India today, these prints can be seen everywhere (not the oldest, but examples from the 1960’s on), in stores and restaurants, on taxi dashboards, tied to bicycle handlebars, even nailed to trees as parts of shrines.
For Hindus these prints embody gods, something of the essence or spirit of a god which is manifest in the world. During puja (daily worship) the god is invited to descend into its image and is treated as a guest. Offerings of fruit, flowers, or sweets are placed before these prints, prayers are chanted to them, incense are burned for them, and garlands of marigolds are hung around their frames.
India’s earliest color prints are lithographs printed from limestone blocks. Images were drawn by hand on as many stones as there were colors to be printed. These stones, each inked in one color, were then printed in succession. By the 1940’s this technique was replaced by the faster and lower-cost photo-offset process used today.
-Mark Baron, December, 2008