On Tuesday March 27, the USF Thacher Gallery hosted the opening reception for, “Aroused Tranquility: Graphic Botanicals.” The exhibit is a comprehensive look at the work of illustrator, printmaker, and botanist Henry Evans. Evans was a renowned Bay Area artist who worked from observation and mixed his own paints to depict plants in life-sized renderings.
“The idea was to feature a local artist with deep San Francisco roots. Evans had an incredibly fine understanding of the natural world,” said Fr. Thomas Lucas, director of the Thacher Gallery.
Of the extensive collection of prints on display, the university acquired 12 prints of native California plants to be on permanent display in the new Center of Science and Innovation. The rest of the prints are on loan from Evan’s widow, Marsha Evans.
The “Aroused Tranquility” exhibit not only featured Evan’s prolific life work in the Thacher Gallery, but also incorporated a collaboration with the Donohue Rare Book Room, and art + architecture professor Fr. Arturo Araujo’s printmaking class. The exhibit is displayed on both the first and third floor of the North wing of the Gleeson Library. The event was set to a beautiful performance by the USF student musicians’ Chamber Ensemble.
On the third floor of the Gleeson Library in the Donohue Rare Book Room, printmaking students were able to use an antique Albion Press to create colorful linoleum prints of flowers. The Albion Press belonged to the renowned printmaker, typographer, and artist Eric Gill, and was made in 1854 in London.
“The students did a great job with the project, and had the pleasure of working with the Albion Press. The assignment was on linoleum printmaking, and the students had to use three layers of linoleum to make an image,” said Fr. Araujo. He jokingly added, “You know, this is before Photoshop.”
“It was a great collaboration between the Rare Book Room and the Thacher Gallery. It was exciting to work with students, and have them use the Rare Book Room press.” said John Hock, the Rare Book Room librarian.
Some of Evan’s highlighted works were on display in glass cases in the Donohue Rare Book Room.
The students also reacted to the exhibit with enthusiasm. Senior Graphic Design major Evan Kikawa chose to enroll in Printmaking class in the last semester of his career at USF.
“I was exciting to get to use an old press and have a different experience than in the classroom,” said Kikawa. “My senior design project is focused on printmaking for a t-shirt line, so this printmaking assignment was like a dream come true.”
“I feel honored to be able to be a part of this exhibit,” said sophomore Nicole Carroll, a fine arts minor, in Fr. Araujo’s Printmaking class.” Being able to do a homage to Henry Evans, collaborating with other printmaking students, and putting on a show for the public has been an awesome experience.”
Be sure to check out “Aroused Tranquility: Graphic Botanicals,” on display until April 22.