Pictured: Postcard based on artwork by Curt Lund.

“INSOLVENT: A Printmaking Exhibition” (2012)

March 10 – March 31, 2012

Big Table Studio
375 Wabasha St N
St Paul, MN 55102

Abigail Slawik | Anna Tsantir | Curt Lund | Edie Overturf | Faye Passow | Karl W. Nelson | Jesikah Orman | Joshua Norton | Jonathan McFadden | Jonathan Stewart | Laura Brown | and Snezana Petrovic

Curated by: Erik Farseth


Featuring free live music by Jim and The French Vanilla 

 INSOLVENT: A Printmaking Exhibition 

This exhibit originally ran from March 10 – March 31, 2012 at Big Table Studio.


INSOLVENT (adjective)
(1): The inability to pay one’s debts as they fall due
(2): having liabilities in excess of a reasonable market value of assets held

When the subprime mortgage crisis hit, Americans lost more than a quarter of their net worth overnight, while the architects of the financial meltdown rewarded themselves with more than half a billion dollars’ worth of executive bonus pay (largely at the taxpayers’ expense). Since 2008, four million homes have gone into foreclosure, with no real end in sight. As American industry fades into the twilight, the future is grim.

Beginning on March 10, 2012, Big Table Studio is collaborating with independent arts promoter Erik Farseth (Motörik Arts) to bring you a special three-week exhibit of local and international printmakers called INSOLVENT.

Insolvent was inspired, in part, by the global economic meltdown, echoes of which can be seen in Curt Lund’s 4-color prints of abandoned hotels on East Fremont Street, and in Karl W. Nelson’s abstract “recession art” based on the theme of Burst Bubbles, Bad News, and Ponzi schemes.

But this exhibit is also a commentary on the art of printmaking itself, and the fact that printmakers work with chemicals and solvents that are slowly, but surely, ruining their health.

In the old days, printmakers rarely lived to see the age of 40, as years of exposure to toxic chemicals sent hundreds of artists to an early grave. Even now (with better ventilation and modern safety procedures), the fumes and the chemicals in artists’ workspaces have been linked to everything from nerve damage to kidney failure.

No future, indeed.

Each of the artists featured in Insolvent represents a completely different style of printmaking (sometimes employing multiple techniques). From Texas-based printmaker Jonathan Stewart’s pop-inspired parodies of coupons and junk food packaging; to Serbian artist Snezana Petrovic’s surrealistic mezzotints, you’ll find no two artists whose work looks quite the same.

But despite this seemingly disparate mixture of styles and subject matter, there is a common (and somewhat dystopian) thread that runs throughout the entire show; a sense of dread and cultural malaise that uses bright colors and acrid humor in order to mask the long defeat.


PHOTO GALLERY: More photos from the opening night reception for “Insolvent” at Big Table Studio