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Ambition and Tradition: Litho Rock, Music Roll

Two very different homages to printed matter are currently on view at Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Charlottetown. One of the gallery’s exhibitions, “Ambition and Tradition in Fine Art Printmaking 1960–1980,” highlights the traditional fine-art practice of studio printmaking, while another, “Tonight’s the Night,” puts the focus on a more streetside genre—rock and roll posters. Both bear an aspect of local pride, however. “Ambition and Tradition” offers a chance to look at works produced by members of the PEI Printmakers Council and by other well-known island residents, including Floyd Trainor (a graphic designer pegged as one of the principal illustrators of PEI), Hilda Woolnough (who bridged art, craft and activism) and Erica Rutherford (a multidisciplinary artist who also worked as an actor, filmmaker, farmer, teacher and writer). Also included are works from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design’s famed lithography workshop series, and prints by PEI artist Karl MacKeeman, who helped execute some of those editions with Vito Acconci, Dennis Oppenheim and other workshoppers during his NSCAD days. Taking a more pop-cultural tack, “Tonight’s the Night: Rock and Roll Posters from PEI” was developed in part around the East Coast Music Awards, which will take place in Charlottetown in April, but it also has lot to say about the historical arts scene on the island. Curators picked four Charlottetown poster creators to highlight—Mike MacDougall and Craig MacPherson, who popularized local cut-and-paste in the 1990s, and Michael Carver and Kirk Avery, who work more currently in digital illustration and design—and also put a public-submissions call out to create a vitrine of rare handmade posters that stretch back into the 1970s and 1980s. The pomo lesson of both shows, perhaps? There’s always more than one way to rock. (145 Richmond St, Charlottetown PEI)

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