Southeast Missouri State University student publication

2012 Outstanding Printmaker featured in Art Gallery exhibit

Monday, October 22, 2012
Butler's exhibit includes 30 pieces of art from his 40-year career as an artist. Southeast Missourian photo

The Mid America Print Council chose James D. Butler as its 2012 Outstanding Printmaker, whose work is featured in the River Campus Art Gallery at Southeast Missouri State University.

The MAPC is an educational organization that promotes the appreciation of making original prints, books, drawings and handmade paper as well as providing information on the art of printmaking.

The 2012 MAPC Biennial Conference entitled Pressing Prints/Pressing Palms: The Entrepreneurial Printmaker will be hosted at the River Campus Nov. 1 to Nov. 3.

As a part of the conference, Butler will not only have 30 of his lithographies, oil paintings and drawings on display in the art gallery, but also give an artist talk from 6 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Donald C. Bell Performance Hall discussing his featured work.

The artist talk is titled "Extending Traditions: Projects, Means and Values."

"[The artist talk] will look at my work in a kind of brief survey of about 40 some years of work, and we'll be looking at work from my undergraduate days to work that I'm doing currently," Butler said. "The lecture will be about 40, 45 minutes long, and we'll hit some of the high points."

Butler, who has work on display in 175 galleries including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and Chicago Art Institute, said being chosen as the Outstanding Printmaker was a big honor and he was surprised by the recognition.

Butler, distinguished professor of art emeritus at Illinois State University, chose the pieces to be featured in the Art Gallery showing. The collection was first displayed Oct. 15 and will hang in the gallery until Nov. 16. It displays Butler's work from his 40-year career as an artist and Butler said he thinks it looks really good in the gallery space.

"It's a sort of summary of my work in printmaking, painting and drawing since 1971, and so it's sort of a sum of the parts you know," Butler said. "I do all kinds of different things in my studio, and so I wanted to make sure that all of those facets of my work output are contained in the exhibition in one way or the other."

Assistant professor Justin Miller took his Drawing I students to the gallery to show them the display on the day that it opened.

Miller had gallery coordinator Kristin Powers Nowlin explain the complex process of lithography to his class, and she also discussed the wide variety of work in the exhibit.

"I'm an artist who works in a representational manner, some people might call it realism, so the work is drawn from my environment," Butler said. "In the early days there was a lot of still life work, and recently I've been working with the landscape."

According to Nowlin, Butler treated this exhibit as a retrospective tour of his whole career. She said his work fits in well at Southeast because much of his work focuses on the Mississippi River and that printmaking has a really strong presence in the Midwest.

"His technical facility is really amazing. It's really great for our students but also the community to just see such technical facility with drawing, painting and printmaking," Nowlin said.

The MAPC Conference will also include printmaking demonstrations, panel discussions, two other speakers, open portfolio sessions, First Friday with the Arts receptions, vendor's fairs and a publisher's fair where original artwork will be on sale. Many events are open to the public and Southeast students can attend for free.

"On Friday afternoon we have something called open portfolio sessions where about 150 artists will put their work out on tables for people to look at," Nowlin said. "That's one of my favorite things at the conference because it's so overwhelming, there's so much art and you get a really good glimpse of what contemporary printmaking is like around the country."

Students, faculty members and professionals will show their work at the event.

"This is an opportunity that comes along like maybe once in a lifetime for students to be able to go to a conference without having to travel and for it to come to the students," Nowlin said.

Butler said he is delighted with the way Nowlin, who has been on the MAPC board for six years, has organized this event. Nowlin said she suggested the conference be held at Southeast this year and that the gallery displays a variety of artwork for the rest of the year.

Every year the gallery has at least two shows from artists outside of Cape Girardeau. They also have BFA exhibitions that are for graduating students and a show dedicated to a faculty member in the art department. This year's faculty member show will be a solo show by assistant professor of art Emily Denlinger.

The gallery also hosts an exhibition for a regional professional artist to act as juror for the Department of Art's Annual Juried Student Exhibition. This year's juror show will feature associate professor of graphic design at the University of Central Missouri Clint Orr in a solo exhibition.

A full list of upcoming gallery events can be found at

To find more information on the MAPC Biennial Conference and the 2012 Outstanding Printmaker, visit the organizations website where a full list of events has been posted.