The primary GOAL of Midwest Matrix® is to assure the preservation of a cultural tradition not only for artists and students of the arts, but also to the public interested in the arts. The purpose of this documentary is to increase the appreciation of fine art printmaking among the general public, which is often not educated about the difference between a fine print and a reproduction and to present the history of this medium to young artists and art students, whom often are uninformed of the history of printmaking.
Although much has been written about the art of both East and West Coasts of the past 70 years, and much attention paid to the development of surrealist tendencies and the creation of Abstract Expressionism through the influence of European painters and sculptors, very little has been done to examine their influence on printmaking in the American Midwest. The thesis of this program is that European expatriate artists and their students post-World War II either transformed existing or founded influential ateliers and printmaking departments in Midwestern universities, turning them into the seedbeds of a remarkable flowering of the fine art print in America. What took these artists to the Midwest? What were their strategies for achieving what they did? What is the “Midwest tradition” of printmaking? Midwest Matrix® will articulate, for the first time, this story—a history of fine art printmaking in the American Midwest. These artists have never been filmed. Midwest Matrix® examines their strong sense of community that prevails and how it continues to manifest itself. Their legacy continues to catalyze young artists at a time of great cultural polarization, immigration, and war.
The history of the Midwest has affected many studios. The work of a handprint studio is a fascinating mixture of the science of materials and of the body/mind of the artist, in the context of her/his environment. Its study has led to increased sophistication in the reading of visual language: signs, symbols, and narrative. Artists from different disciplines are fascinated to work with master printers--this collaboration extends the possibilities available to all artists, not just printmakers. Increasing knowledge of a medium increases the sense of community among all artists. Therefore this documentary is a significant tool to reach out to the community in great numbers.
Midwest Matrix® provides film and production services, archiving databases, images and electronic data related to printmaking.