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Modern Inkers: Experimentation in Comics

July 17, 2012–September 24, 2012
Ryerson and Burnham Libraries (not open Saturdays and Sundays)

During the course of the last century, comics have steadily evolved from the works of the early innovators to the contributions of the many contemporary creators who continue to rethink and reshape the medium. Today, as many gallery and museum exhibitions worldwide are focusing on the work of comics artists, it becomes unmistakable that the definition of comics has expanded to include much more than just graphic novels, superheroes, and Sunday funnies; they now also function as avenues for visual experimentation and modes of self-expression.

The works on display in this exhibition begin with the newspaper comics of the early 1900s, which in the hands of Lionel Feiniger combined spirited narratives with polychromatic frontiers. The exhibition continues through underground and contemporary artists who have taken publishing methods into their own hands, creating multicolor serigraph editions which bear more of a resemblance to artists’ books than something you would normally find in a comic shop. The influences of several art movements not traditionally associated with comics, such as Expressionism, Surrealism, Pop, and other forms of contemporary art, are immediately recognizable in many of the works on display. This assemblage is all drawn from the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, which has actively been growing its collection of comic art, including the work of many young creators who currently live and work in Chicago.