A brief immersion at Tandem Press

In Microtones, our newsletter-first column.

In Microtones, our newsletter-first column.

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Tandem Press is a bit out of the way compared to most of the museums and galleries in Madison, occupying a back section of a building on Commercial Avenue, in a historically industrial part of the north side. Of course, most of Tandem isn’t a gallery at all, but an actual working studio for printmaking, affiliated with UW-Madison’s Art Department. Its actual public hours are just on weekdays, though if you make an appointment (or sometimes just wander in), you can visit on Saturdays. Events like Tandem’s monthly-ish jazz series offer another point of public access. 

Depending on your timing, you may get a tour of the whole operation and hear a story about the time David Lynch purchased a stereo system for the place. Or you might just see some great prints and hear the noise of machinery and public radio in the background. Anyway, if you’re looking for a brief escape within the next eight days, I’d recommend dropping by to see Tandem’s current exhibition, Immersed.

The show, in the gallery off to the side of Tandem’s lobby, covers work from 10 of the artists on the Tandem Press staff. It’s not a huge exhibition, but in its scope it says a lot about the variety of visions and approaches to printmaking represented at Tandem Press. Manabu Ikeda, who created a massive work on-site at the Chazen a few years ago, contributed a small, untitled etching that depicts a great gnarled tree. The monochrome piece, 18 inches wide and 16 inches high, captures a world of rippling trunk and densely interwoven branches. Across from it are three pieces from Alison Saar, who had a fantastic solo show at Tandem last year. Dan Rizzie’s “24 Gems For John Torreano,” meanwhile, evokes the congenial chaos of a studio crowded with open paint cans. A couple other pieces open up a more subdued side of painter TL Solien.

My favorite corner (literally) of the exhibition, is where Suzanne Caporael’s “Montpelier, Ohio” hangs next to Mickalene Thomas’ “Interior: Zebra With Two Chairs And Funky Fur.” (Pictured above.) This little part of the show gives you soft minimalism next to brilliantly piled-on maximalism. Caporael’s piece is almost prim, consisting of a stack of gently colored, slightly warped polygons on an off-white background. Thomas’ piece next to it layers on a whole number of techniques in what feels more like a collage, wrapping up the viewer in a busy but unmistakably welcoming environment.

The title Immersed comes from the fact that the contributing artists are “daily immersed in the Tandem Press inventory,” as the show’s promotional copy puts it, but these two contrasting pieces demonstrate how easy it is to sink into the wildly diverse world of printmaking tucked away at Tandem.

Illustration by Shaun Soman.


Illustration by Shaun Soman.

New this week:

Henry Solo looks back fondly on his week as a flower-shop temp.

Commence the sacred butt ritual! Phoebe Schlough profiles Madison-based game developer Francesca Carletto-Leon.

The speculative queer Beatles drama The Hours And Times screens Saturday at UW Cinematheque.

Madison band Burnidette celebrates a new EP this Friday at Communication.

More events of note in this week’s Madison calendar.

Elsewhere on the Madison internet: The Sun Ra Arkestra has announced an April 8 show at Café CodaDanez Smith visits WORT.  The Cap Times checks in on The Venue On Winnebago Street. 

Upcoming Tone Madison Events!

February 28: Tone Madison Office Hours. Social Justice Center, 1 to 4 p.m.

March 5: Kayo Dot, Psalm Zero, Telechrome. Communication, 8 p.m. Tickets available now, discount for Tone Madison Sustainers

March 29: Elder Ones. MaiaHaus Project Space (402 E. Mifflin St), 8 p.m. Tickets available now, discount for Tone Madison Sustainers

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