ESCAPE!!! originated from a series of large scale woodcuts that profiled 19th and 20th century magicians. Castonguay has always been fascinated by cultural relics, more specifically individuals that deserve more historical attention and critical evaluation. While planning ESCAPE!!! Castonguay realized how vast the topic is, especially in an age of encroaching technology we often seek alternative methods of escaping. This allowed each artist to interpret the idea in entirely different contexts. Many of the individuals part of ESCAPE!!! are friends of Castonguay, but others are new acquaintances based on recommendations. Everyone chosen previously displayed a strong quality of his or her dedication to printmaking. All of these pieces work together to create a surreal, grotesque, and elegant visual dialogue around the chosen theme.
A portfolio exchange involves organizing a group of artists to design and implement the creation of an original print pertaining to a specific theme. These prints are all original hand printed proofs and were created using intaglio, relief, silkscreen, letterpress, or monotype printing methods. A portfolio exchange allows for a broad artistic interpretation of a common theme, each artist infuses their own ideas into their print. A single portfolio contains a diverse range of styles, processes, and ideas.
A curator first contacts each artist that he or she would like to include in the exchange process. He or she then chooses a theme, specifies the paper dimensions, sets a completion deadline, and creates a portfolio case. Each artist ships the finished prints to the curator who then collates all the materials and ships the completed portfolio back to participating artist. The result is a bound portfolio complete with 15 unique prints by each artist in the exchange. In addition, the curator secures exhibition venues for the completed project and creates all the printed informational materials. ESCAPE!!! was first shown in December 2011 at Pike Street Press in Seattle, WA before traveling to ECA+ in Easthampton, MA
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