Michael Ehlbeck: Life in the Sticks
February 13, 2023 – March 11, 2023
Artalk: February 13, 2023 , Kennedy~Reedy Theatre
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I have always been attracted to the physical nature of making prints — carving linoleum, needling, etching, scraping, and burnishing both zinc and copper plate, as well as the process of inking and printing images. I have also continuously made drawings and three-dimensional images utilizing a variety of materials. My subject matter includes landscape, cityscape, objects and family.
The land and cityscapes document aspects of my travels that I found to be visually and personally interesting. Elements that stayed fresh in my memory were translated in such images as Saint Kolumba Catholic Church as seen from the Cologne Cathedral spire.
The physical objects — quite often natural elements like sticks, stones, water, and various collected trinkets — become a starting point. These images evolve without preconceived solutions or outcomes. This way of working is akin to a one-person exquisite corpse, so to speak.
Just as the landscapes, cityscapes and objects feature points of interest from my travels, the portraits revolve around my family. The recent images pay tribute to my departed mother and father as assemblages of fragmented memories.
Michael Ehlbeck, born in Dixon, Illinois, is a professor emeritus of East Carolina University, School of Art and Design, having taught printmaking, drawing, and design there for more than 40 years. He earned his BFA degree in painting from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and his MFA degree in printmaking from the University of Florida, Gainesville.
While Ehlbeck works primarily in intaglio and relief processes, he has devoted serious studio time to making drawings and mixed media pieces. His large-scale etchings have been commissioned and hang in the Atlanta International Airport. Ehlbeck has spent time internationally teaching and leading workshops in Hong Kong, Germany, Italy and the United Arab Emirates.
During his career he has participated in more than 250 regional, national, and international exhibitions. Recent exhibitions include the “37th Bradley International Print and Drawing Exhibition” at Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois; the “Ambos Lados International Print Exchange” sponsored by Horned Toad Prints of El Paso, Texas and the Taller Grafica Libre of Zaachila, Oaxaca, Mexico; “The Print Effect: Small Works / Big Impact” at Manhattan Graphics Center, New York, New York; and the “55th Annual National Drawing and Small Sculpture Show”,at Del Mar College, Corpus Christi, Texas.