5th Annual Bernstein Book Arts Lecture Announced!

April 1, 2019

Jim Lee will give the 5th Annual Bernstein Book Arts Lecture on Thursday, April 25, from 5:00-6:30, in 126 Memorial Library.  The public is invited to hear his talk: “Jim Lee: Printmaker and Occasional Book Artist.”

Jim Lee at a printing press.

Jim Lee is a master printmaker, draughtsman, and book artist from the Midwest. Born in Wichita, he received a BA in studio arts from Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas. He attended graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he received an MFA in printmaking in 1980. There he studied with Ray Gloeckler, Warrington Colescott, Jack Damer, Walter Hamady, and David Becker. While working with Hamady, he discovered the book format to be the perfect medium for his narrative images.

In 1978 Lee started his private press, Blue Moon Press, where he makes single sheet prints, broadsides, and limited edition letterpress books containing his own graceful and compelling images, and at times his own writing. Some of his work contains contemporary poetry and work by other writers, such as Wally Swist, Brendan Galvin, Franz Douskey, and W.D. Wetherwell, among others. Lee has also illustrated books produced by other presses, such as Hamady’s Perishable Press.

Lee’s work focuses on nature, especially the depiction of landscape as seen in his print series New England Orchard, Connecticut River, and Nova Scotia. From drawings, pastels, or watercolors executed onsite, Lee then develops his prints, which are usually color reduction woodcuts, but also relief etchings, and linocuts. Images from his various thematic series are collected in a book format as a summation of the projects.  Lee sees “the intersection of type and image as a continuation of the art of drawing” in his books.

Along with humor and satire, which has cropped up in his work since his days in Madison, Lee is also fascinated with folklore and mythology. His book, A’tugwaqan: Three Mi’kmaq Indian Stories, developed from his travels and research in Eastern Canada and includes legends collected by ethnologist Ruth Holmes Whitehead. His character, Mr. Fox, appears in several of his books dealing with nursery rhymes. His books are supremely crafted and can take a lot of time—up to four years– and so are produced once in a blue moon.

Saying Her Name (1989) — broadside

Lee has taught printmaking, drawing, and book arts at the Hartford Art School/University of Hartford since 1982. He has exhibited his work in many national and international venues, including Germany and China. His books and prints are in major collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Guangdong Museum of Fine Art, among many others.

During his visit to campus, Lee will conduct a demonstration for students in Andy Rubin’s Relief Printmaking class (Art 306), where he will print a multi-color woodcut. The lecture and demonstration are funded by the Leonora G. Bernstein Artists’ Book Endowment and sponsored by the Kohler Art Library, UW-Madison Libraries.

Curated by Lyn Korenic, with the assistance of graduate student Tim Vermuelen, the exhibit Narrative Images: Jim Lee & Blue Moon Press explores a selection of Lee’s artists’ books and broadsides at the Kohler Art Library from February 1-April 30, 2019.

A’tugwaqan: Three M’ikmaq Indian Stories (2009) —  detail
Trouble Light (1989) — detail