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Processing prints in Smith Gallery

Caelum Froikin ’16 explored multimedia printmaking techniques in his Smith Gallery show. Photo by Rae Kuhlman
Caelum Froikin ’16 explored multimedia printmaking techniques in his Smith Gallery show. Photo by Rae Kuhlman
Caelum Froikin ’16 explored multimedia printmaking techniques in his Smith Gallery show. Photo by Rae Kuhlman

The Smith Gallery exhibition by Cal Froikin ’16, entitled “Process,” connects all of Froikin’s art pieces under the same creation process. Though his pieces use different mediums of art, ranging from digital manipulation to screen-printing, all of them originate from Froikin’s abstract and geometric doodles.

“Well it’s called process because I kind of have a particular process … I just doodle little tiny things,” Froikin said. “It’s like abstract doodles, just like absentminded [doodles] sometimes in class, and then I’ll scan them, and do digital manipulation, and that is what kind of results in the rest of the stuff in there.”

The idea of finding a set artistic “process” was encouraged to Froikin by Professor Matthew Kluber, Art, whose class Froikin is currently enrolled in.

“Last semester he kind of encouraged me … [when] you’re figuring out a process, put your head down and work, some things will turn out and some things won’t, but if you keep making stuff, some stuff with look good,” Froikin said.

When you first walk into the gallery, the first thing you notice is a large canvas piece in the center of the farthest wall. The exhibition’s canvas piece, created using screen-printing, took the longest for Froikin to make. The multiple prints of doodles and the contrasting hues on the canvas create a sense of texture and abstractness to the piece, almost making it seem as if paint has been splattered onto the canvas.

“For the really big one, I made that using screen printing. I made stencils using little doodles that I do, and then did layer after layer of different [colors]. I think I had four or five different images for that big one,” Froikin explained.

Froikin hopes that viewers try to see the complexity of his creation method.

“The whole process deals with this … straight from my head to the paper … a kind of improvisatory thing, [but] then when I do my digital manipulation, it’s kind of more, not like structured, but I’m thinking more about it, making decisions more, so I’d like people to see that it’s a fusion of analog and digital processes,” Froikin said.

However, Froikin is open to varying interpretations of his art. He said he drew inspiration from the speech made by New York Times art critic Roberta Smith ’69 when she visited Grinnell earlier this semester.

“In her talk, [she] was like, ‘Once it’s out of the artist’s hands, they have no control over it.’ I kind of share that same idea, so I kind of hope people just go in there and are like, ‘Damn, that’s cool,’” Froikin said.

Photo by Rae Kuhlman
Photo by Rae Kuhlman

Froikin’s work has always emphasized abstraction and geometric doodles. He cited his German visual artist Gerhard Richter’s abstract and illusionistic works as a source of inspiration, as well as the similar pieces created by the digital art collective Depthcore.

Many of his pieces were created using digital manipulation, a technique that Froikin only started using a year ago, when he took a digital media class with Professor Andrew Kaufman, Art. However, for future pieces, Froikin wants to continue to work on a large scale. He is currently finishing up two other large canvas screen printing pieces.

His screen printing work will continue with him this summer, when he will be interning with Axelle Editions, a fine art screen-printing shop in New York.

Visitors can observe Froikin’s pieces in the Smith Gallery until Friday, April 10.

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