In late March, the Center on Contemporary Art in Seattle, Wash., opened a ground-breaking exhibit called Change-Seed, featuring a group of Hong Kong-based contemporary artists. The show, which runs through May 15, 2015, is a mixture of edgy prints, mixed media and video installations.
Although Hong Kong is a financial mecca for well-known artists, the lesser-known artists have very limited visibility, says Nichole DeMent, CoCA’s executive director.
“When we put the call out, we said to the artists: Let us be your voice,” DeMent says. “Let us tell your story that you weren’t able to tell in China.”
So CoCA curated an eclectic mix of art projects and asked the artists to send in digital files. CoCA then turned to Rock’s Studio, a fine art digital print service provider in Seattle. Stephen Rock, a multifaceted artist himself, contacted LexJet about the project, in hopes to acquire media to print the photographic works on.
Rock used Photo Tex, a printable self-adhesive polyester fabric, for large-scale prints, such as Laurent Segretier‘s “Untitled 17,” a 72-by-95-inch collage of what looks to be a cliff under construction, lined with vulnerable bamboo scaffolding. “It’s a big, gritty, dirty-looking print,” Rock says. He increased the scale of the artist’s work, which had several cut-out pieces around the print’s edges, which Rock decided to honor, creating a funky, urban piece.
“Since we had no budget to frame and mount these pieces, I suggested Photo Tex,” Rock says. “We can go really big with it and put the print right on the wall.”
He used his HP Designjet Z3100 printer (now available in the Z3200 model) for the prints. “HP just works so great on this material,” he says.
Rock printed other photographic installations on Sunset Velvet Rag 315g. “As a printmaker, I just cringe at having to print big black areas on matte paper,” he says. “Any mishandling and those flat matte areas are prone to flaking. But with the Sunset Rag, it was like: Wow, these are deep and black and matte. They looked really sharp.”
Images in the prints included “Untitled 15,” objects wrapped with black trash bags and “Untitled 24,” an unidentifiable but intriguing image — guesses as to what it is range from rotting fabric to a dead insect.
“What are these guys trying to say, culture-wise,” Rock ponders. “Is it about consumption? There are so many layers and mystery. It’s very appropriate that they left it undefined.”
CoCA was thrilled to be a part of the dialog. “The artists appreciated the opportunity to have their work seen,” DeMent says. “It took them coming across the world to make that happen.”
Rock says he often does what he calls “benevolent printing” for projects like this, using as high-quality media as he has access to. “I don’t do cheap printing,” he says. “And thank you to LexJet, too, for helping. That’s what makes these shows work.”