Visual Art

Artwork with Teeth

Shark’s Ink exclusively made for Foster Gallery

Caitlin Heidbrink |

An intricate display of finely carved wood exudes color and light as if it were electric. Another artist creates a wacky, eccentric lithograph depiction of a New York City street corner and another blindingly bold tribute to Henri Matisse in Morocco. Intensely diverse works of art such as these are simply a taste of what this contemporary publishing company has to offer.

It has been a decade since an exhibition by publishers Shark’s Ink graced the walls of the Foster Gallery. Its second coming, Shark’s Ink Revisited, will run Oct. 9-30 at the Foster Gallery, located in the Haas Fine Arts Center of UW-Eau Claire.

“We thought it would be nice to see what some of the artists featured then are doing now and to introduce the community to several other artists Shark’s has worked with,” said Tom Wagener, Foster’s gallery director.

Revisited is a one-stop exhibit, put together specifically for Foster Gallery by Shark’s Ink. Wagener said UW-Eau Claire’s printmaking professor Sandra Starck chose specific pieces from Shark’s collection for the exhibit. Wagener said the pieces are mostly color lithographs, Shark’s main medium, in addition to woodcuts and monoprints.

Bud Shark, master printer, collaborator, and publisher at Shark’s Ink, said pieces that stand out include John Buck’s woodcuts and Red Grooms’ three-dimensional lithographs.

 “Also, Enrique Chagoya’s codices are amazing pieces in part because of their format and also because of the socio-political content,” he said.

    Like the inspiring prints themselves, these artists come from diverse backgrounds. Shark said they were invited to exhibit based on the unique personal aspects of their work.

Chagoya, a Mexico City native, came to the United States as a labor organizer. Shark alsosaid artist Hung Liu grew up in China during the cultural revolution, and tattoo artist Don Ed Hardy studied printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute.

With headquarters in Lyons, Colo., Shark’s Ink Publishing has a unique biography due to their small, personal work environment.

“We work with only one artist at a time,” Shark said, “They stay with us and we spend 24/7 with them while they are working.”

Prints by Shark’s Ink have been displayed at the Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, in addition to Yale University Art Gallery, The Library of Congress in D.C., and the Art Institute of Chicago.

    Shark’s Ink Revisited. Oct. 9-30 at Foster Gallery, Haas Fine Arts Center, UW-Eau Claire. Open 10am-4:30pm Mondays-Fridays, 6-8pm Thursdays, and 1-4:30pm Saturdays-Sundays. Opening reception 7:30-9pm Oct. 9.