Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

November 25, 2004

U of G launches portfolio with three original works of art

The University of Guelph’s School of Fine Art and Music (SOFAM) is launching its first edition of the University of Guelph Press Portfolio Dec. 3 just before the 7:30 p.m. performance of the SOFAM faculty recital at the River Run Centre.

The portfolio is a limited-edition collection of three original prints by three of Canada’s top painters.

Only 30 portfolios are being printed, making them a valuable collector’s item in the Canadian contemporary art world. The portfolios, which come with a certificate of authenticity, are being offered first to U of G graduates for $3,700 and then to the general public for $4,000 ─ to raise money for SOFAM.

“I’m hoping to create a splash in the larger art community, as well as a bit of a buzz around campus,” said SOFAM director John Kissick. “The University of Guelph Press Portfolio celebrates the very high quality of our program.”

There’s no doubt that a portfolio containing original prints by U of G friend Tony Scherman, fine art professor Monica Tap and U of G’s first MFA graduate, David Urban, will generate interest in the art world.

“A Tony Scherman piece alone would be worth the price of our entire portfolio, so as a collection, this is about 50 per cent of the going market rate,” said Kissick.

The portfolio contains three different genres of work: a portrait by Scherman, an abstraction by Urban and a landscape by Tap, all printed on 100-per-cent cotton, acid-free paper that is 22 by 30 inches. Each print features a dominant colour, making for a striking visual impact. “We didn’t plan it, but Tony’s has strong blue, mine has strong red and Monica’s has strong yellow, which is the primary colour combination,” said Urban. “It certainly makes for a good-looking ensemble of prints.”

The artists created their work with master printer Allen Ash in U of G’s printmaking studio, which has one of the best press beds in the country. They had the choice of creating a work in any of the four printmaking media: intaglio printing (which includes etching), screen printing, relief printing and lithography. Scherman and Urban both chose to do etchings, and Tap did a silkscreen.

Ash, who has worked with more than 100 Canadian and international artists as master printer for Toronto’s Open Studio and the Ontario College of Art and Design and as U of G’s printmaking technician for the past year, said each print in the portfolio is an original. “These images have an intrinsic value. The artists work directly in the print format, and they’re a limited edition, so we print only a small number, then destroy the plates and screens.”

Because the printing is all done by hand, each individual print has its own nuances. “To produce the etchings, you’re embossing the paper as you’re printing it, so you’re getting very pronounced lines and raised surfaces,” said Ash. “The ink is highly pigmented. There’s a tactile sensibility to these prints that really cannot be reproduced by any media today. You’re pressing against a matrix or screen to physically make an image.”

Kissick plans to offer a University of Guelph Press Portfolio to U of G alumni and the general public each fall. “By the end of five years, there will be 15 University of Guelph Press pieces,” he said. “It will be a fantastic collection of contemporary Canadian art.”

For information on purchasing the portfolio, contact Kissick at

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982.

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