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Derek Hibbs: Ignorance is Bliss

Exhibition Dates: April 13-24, 2020 (to be rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic)

Tandem Press is pleased to host Ignorance is Bliss, a Master of Fine Arts thesis exhibition by Derek Hibbs, University of Wisconsin-Madison MFA candidate and 2019-2020 Tandem Press Project Assistant.

Artist Biography:

Derek Hibbs grew up in the Toledo, Ohio area and is an artist currently pursuing his MFA in printmaking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Derek received his BFA in printmaking from Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne. Hibbs works primarily in lithography, intaglio, and relief methods of printmaking, but he also has a background in ceramics.

Artist Statement:

I grew up in the American Midwest and was raised in Toledo, Ohio, an area commonly referred to as the “rust belt”. Located between the industrial U.S. cities of Detroit and Cleveland that were affected greatly by economic downfalls like the 2008 recession and replacement of workers by technology, I saw firsthand the fall of industry and increasing job loss which had a devastating effect on my family. Witnessing the resulting years of abuse, addiction, and depression, I am interested in the state of working-class survival in American society in the face of class inequality. My artwork is a personal examination of experiences, hoping to bring attention to despair, tragedy, and the need for change. Drawing from Nineteenth and Twentieth century printmakers like Goya, Daumier, and Posada who inspired action, I incorporate satire to provide some way to deal with the magnitude of the exaggerated reality we live in. My intention is to bring awareness through the lens of historical printmaking by generating powerful images that reflect the social condition of our time, while referencing the history of labor, American capitalism, and our environment. The unique technical challenges and materiality related to printmaking provides a connection to labor within my studio practice. I work in the traditional methods of woodcut and lithography to record and exploit the follies of our modern world. The historical role of print as a method of mass communication using the multiple is still effective in our technologically dominated world, through social media and the internet. My most recent woodcuts and lithographs have been made from a home studio after converting my garage to a functioning printshop amid the COVID-19 global health pandemic.

This exhibition is made possible through support from the Anonymous Fund.

Click here for a PDF of the artworks included in this exhibition

Visit Derek Hibbs’s website for more information and images