Full Spectrum: Prints From the Brandywine Workshop

Rob Hassler

Full Spectrum: Prints from the Brandywine Workshop, located on the ground floor of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, features a selection of one hundred prints by eighty-nine artists donated to the museum in memory of the Museum’s late director Anne d’Harnoncourt. The donated prints come from the Brandywine Workshop, an internationally recognized center for printmaking and a vital part of the Philadelphia community. Dedicated to the creation of prints and to broadening their appreciation, the workshop actively engages diverse artists and communities. Full Spectrum explores the relationships between cultural identity, political and social issues, portraiture, and landscape, as well as patterning and pure abstraction. The spectrum, literally, of the fifty-four prints on view express the far reaching conceptual and stylistic approaches that represent the character of the artists and the range of Brandywine Workshop participants.

While Full Spectrum celebrates the pluralism of contemporary art, the issues surrounding the artists’ far reaching dynamic backgrounds within the United States are delightfully unavoidable. The workshop has sponsored artists from thirty-five different states and fifteen foreign countries since its founding in 1972. The presence of cultural diversity among the artists presents challenging imagery that often explores the artists personal interpretation on issues that stem from being African-American, Cuban, Native American, etc., in the United States. Ultimately, where Full Spectrum seems most intriguing, the exhibition does not make a deliberate point to address.  The Brandywine Workshop artists not only have diverse cultural backgrounds, a large majority of the artists work with mediums not limited to printmaking. Those works that were provided with partnering text panels gave insight to the broad scope of artists backgrounds ranging from architecture to filmmaking. Full Spectrum provides visitors with a gamut of beautiful art that not only challenges the boundaries of contemporary, but demonstrates the Brandywine Workshop’s distinguished forty-year history.