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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Faulconer presents triplets

Stop by Bucksbaum this weekend to check out Faulconer Gallery’s three new exhibitions, which open at 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 23.

“The Griffins in Iowa exhibit is going to attract a lot of local architecture buffs,” said Leslie Wright, director of Faulconer Gallery.

Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin studied in the studio of Frank Lloyd Wright and famously won an international competition to assist in designing the Australian city Canberra. Viewers don’t have to be architecture buffs, to marvel at the blueprints—among them are elaborate illustrations of gardens that resemble the petals of a flower and houses integrated with the surrounding prairie landscape.

“Marion Griffin illustrated many of the designs on silk paper,” Wright said, pointing out Griffin’s distinctive signature. “Dan Strong [Assistant Director at Faulconer Gallery] traveled to Colombia University to pick out some of the best representative prints from their collection.”

There’s a local connection as well. The Faulconer exhibit will mark the centennial anniversary of the construction of Grinnell’s own Ricker House, originally designed by the visiting Griffin couple for local business proprietor Benjamin Ricker. The exhibit also contains blueprints and photos of other Iowa structures, like the Rock Crest and Rock Glen homes in Mason City.

For those inclined to explore art from outside Iowa, Faulconer offers two more exhibits. One chronicles the development of commercial printing in Late Imperial China, the other, the emergence of Chinese Propaganda Posters from 1949-79.

“It was happy serendipity that brought these two shows to the gallery at the same time,” Wright said . “We didn’t plan this.”

It’s clear, however, that a considerable amount of planning has been devoted to these exhibits. Faulconer Gallery has arranged to host three craftsmen from the China Block Printing Museum who will demonstrate the key techniques of woodblock printing as part of the show, entitled “From the Book Forest: Commercial Publishing in Imperial China”. Faulconer’s guest curator, Dr. Deborah Rudolph of the U.C. Berkeley Starr Library, has carefully assembled this display of 14th to 17th century Chinese book publishing.

“We have such an amazing and extensive collection at Berkeley, it was difficult to decide what to bring,” Rudolph said.

Dr. Rudolph was eager to walk through each display, explaining how specific external details indicated the age of the woodblock used for printing, the way the books had been stacked and where they had traveled. Rudolph even lamented that these details of process are often overshadowed by the books’ content.

“Now that books are available on the internet, it seems like everyone is focused on content,” Rudolph said . “While you can’t divorce a book from its content, there’s also a lot you can learn just by piecing together small details.”    Hopefully, visitors this weekend will have time to look in detail at one or all of these engaging exhibits. Whether you’re interested in local art or texts from across time and oceans, the Faulconer has something for you.

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