A threshold is a space of transition, a passage from one place into another. To think of a threshold is to think of movement, of leaving something behind and engaging something new. And yet, a threshold is also a space unto itself. To connect here to there, it must have its own structure, whether defined through distance and time, states of mind, or social conditions.
During this period of global tragedy and struggle we exist in and on a threshold. But what is the nature of the threshold, and what lies beyond it? The Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on our families and societies, further complicating reckonings with structural inequities and the resurgence of long-standing regional conflicts. Though challenges surround us, some bonds between us deepen and hope persists. This in-between place may be a kind of confinement and stasis, or it may be the cusp of freedom and progress.
Printmakers have a celebrated history of shining light on the urgencies of each time and place. Each print itself is a kind of threshold, a portal through which new ideas and feelings can be shared and explored. Because it is built on traditions involving the economical production and mass distribution of the multiple, printmaking has profoundly facilitated the wide dissemination of image and text. IPEP India extends this tradition by gathering the work of artists from across the world, and inviting each artist to share the portfolio within their communities. In this way, it is possible for us to stand in the thresholds envisioned by artists from places very different from our own, to recognize what connects and separates us, to revel in beautiful expressions of human experience, and to build compassion as a result.
The 2021 IPEP India exchange portfolio offers this invitation to consider the notion of the threshold in all of its interpretations, so that we may continue the critical work of creatively responding to being where we are and considering where we will go.
Nicholas Ruth is an artist, curator, and educator from New York. Nick’s work in printmaking and installation explores the relationship between the built environment and human desire, and in particular addresses the function of communications infrastructure such as cell towers and signage as expressions of cultural values. He has curated several printmaking exhibitions including “Signs and Signifiers” (2017), “Within/Without” (2015), and “Nice Place to Visit: Printmaking and the Anxious Landscape” (2010). Augmenting his work as an artist, Nick has a focus on the field of Cultural Geography and the map as a rhetorical device.
His work has appeared in over 100 exhibitions in the United States and internationally, including IPCNY New Prints 2021/Summer, InkMasters Cairns (2021), 92nd Print Center International Competition (2018), Global Matrix IV (2017), 8th Douro Biennial (2016), and the 9th Triennale Mondiale de l”Estampe Chamaliers (2014). As an educator, Nick teaches courses in painting, drawing, and printmaking, prioritizing conceptual and material exploration and visual invention. He has led semester abroad programs to Rome, Italy, Galway in Ireland, and to Auckland, New Zealand. Nick is currently the Classes of 1964 Endowed Professor of Art at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York.