Editor's note: The following 2003 essay was written by Peter S. Briggs, Chief Curator at the University of Arizona Museum of Art for the exhibition "A Physical Art: The Intaglio Prints of Andrew Rush." The essay is reprinted with permission of University of Arizona Museum of Art . If you have questions or comments regarding the essay, please contact University of Arizona Museum of Art directly through either this phone number or web address:
A Physical Art: The Intaglio Prints of Andrew Rush 1957-1997
by Peter S. Briggs
Note: All of the prints on exhibit were gifts to the Museum of Art from Ann Woodin and the artist. The plates, tools, drawings and proofs in the display cases are on loan from the artist.
The works in this exhibition provide a view of approximately one fourth of Rush's creative production as a printmaker and span some forty years. No one should assume, however, that this wide-ranging view is complete or fully representative. Rush continues to work and experiment with printmaking; most recently, for example, he was exploring in depth his interest in printing from zinc plates made with transfers from his drawings.
Rush's creative life is grounded in prints. Perhaps the most influential period of his formal education were the years he spent during the mid-1950s at the University of Iowa studying with the widely acknowledged master teacher, Mauricio Lasansky. Prints, especially intaglio or etching, plea not only for complex technical expertise in the printmaking processes but also for the refined and expressive skills practiced by an expert draughtsman. Rush's esteem for drawing may be most literally summed up in the celebrated Tucson-based art school he created some fifteen years ago: The Drawing Studio. It is also clearly evident in the prints on exhibit here. The explorations of varieties of lines, the character or movement of making marks, and the value or lights and darks attest to his deep-seated fondness for drawing. Rush sculpts these marks in the metal, represented to us by ink on paper, creating in effect a low relief panel drawing.
An exhibition of Rush's prints shows the foundation of his creative work but in so doing does a disservice to his artistic complexity. Besides being a dedicated teacher during the last forty years, Rush works in a variety of other media including watercolor, clay, and drawing. His energy is also regularly directed toward complex public art activities undertaken in collaboration with other artists, most of whom are from Rancho Linda Vista (the "Ranch"), an artists' community in Oracle where Rush lives as well. He is and has been a voice of artistic vision combined with practical know-how. Certainly, Rush is a more complex artist than an exhibition of "just his prints" might lead one to believe.
This exhibition would not have been possible without the generous and abundant donation of the prints by Ann Woodin and Andrew Rush. Some six years ago, the Museum of Art's then Director, Peter Bermingham, explored with Rush the possibility of developing a "master" collection of his prints for the Museum The creation of this collection proceeded slowly and was unfortunately interrupted by Bermingham's death. I, then Acting Chief Curator, continued with Rush in making the selections, culminating in 2000 with a gift of fifty-two prints. Some six months ago Woodin and Rush donated several more works to "round out" the selection for this exhibition. To Ann Woodin and Andrew Rush the University of Arizona Museum of Art and I owe thanks for their consideration and generosity.
A Physical Art: The Intaglio Prints of Andrew Rush is on exhibition through January 18, 2004.
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This page was originally published in 2003 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.
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