PAST/PRESENT/NOW MAY/JUNE: Annie Bissett

Annie Bissett's delicate and beautifully carved woodblock prints belie the controversial social and political issues they explore---immigration, racism, gay rights, hypocrisy, prejudice and intolerance---and the strong messages they convey (let's just put it this way, Annie's art suggests she's against pretty much everything Trump and Cruz stand for and won't be voting Republican anytime soon).

Yet there's nothing didactic or depressing about her art---nor any doubt about her talent. In fact, one of Annie's prints is on the cover of the current issue of Printmaking Today, the prestigious journal of Britain's Royal Society of Painters and Print makers, while four more of her prints are featured inside along with an interview. High praise, for sure. But wouldn't you rather see for yourself? PAST/PRESENT/NOW watercolor woodblock prints by ANNIE BISSETT (May 12 to June 18 at CK/RFA)

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The History of Art: Bissett uses 16th C print technique to create 21st C political art

There are many different ways to make prints, and Annie Bissett has mastered one of the oldest and most difficult, moku hanga, dating from 16th Century Japan. Moku hanga is unusual because there's no press involved; the print maker carves a block of wood (or several blocks of wood, one for each color) then creates the print by pressing the woodblock, coated with watercolor paint, against damp paper by hand.The woodblock carving is painstaking and requires great skill, especially so in Annie's work because her prints are extremely intricate; "printing" them by hand is hard labor---in her case, it's clearly a labor of conviction and love.

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