Woodcut prints and associated artist books can be viewed in the Michael Gill: The Grownups Keep Talking/Nobody Knows Why exhibition in the Massillon Museum’s Studio M from April 16 through June 1, 2022.
The Museum will host a reception for the artist on Saturday, April 23, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The event, which will be free and open to everyone, will feature artist remarks and a woodcut demonstration at 6:00 p.m. A podcast interview with the artist will be posted at MassillonMuseum.org on Tuesday, May 17.
Michael Gill writes: “I came to woodcut and letterpress printing as a writer, looking for a way to give stories and rhymes to my children years ago when they were learning to read. I begin with the writing, then make the woodcut images to go with the text. I then set movable type, print the woodcuts and text in editions of 100, and bind them myself. The result is an edition of 100 handmade books comprised of original, color woodcut prints, with text printed from metal and wooden type, entirely made by the author, by hand.”
The exhibition will present approximately 20 framed woodcut prints from two artist books: Common Household Rhymes for the Modern Child and A Pocket Full of Change, along with original examples of those books and others, presented on pedestals, with gloves available, so that patrons can read them—which they are encouraged to do.
The stories and pictures are entirely family-friendly: Common Household Rhymes includes verses about a black cat, a grey cat, and a lonely orange fish, bicycling through the city at night, and the fact that adults are allowed to stay up later than children. A Pocket Full of Change tells of a boy who, with coins in his pocket, goes out on his bicycle and puts the coins one by one (a penny through a silver dollar) on railroad tracks to be run over by trains.
The Grownups Keep Talking/Nobody Knows Why is among the 30 exhibitions and events that accompany MassMu’s 2022 NEA Big Read book selection, An American Sunrise by Muskogee author Joy Harjo, US Poet Laureate.
On Saturday, April 23, from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., the artist will read his book and demonstrate making woodcuts at the Massillon Public Library Family Story Time. The event is free and open to everyone with no registration required. Massillon Public Library has partnered with MassMu for 15 years to present robust NEA Big Read programming.
An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. This project is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. One Tiger and Rotary Club of Massillon have provided additional Big Read and Little Read funding.
A Cleveland-based writer and artist, Gill earned an MFA in creative writing at Eastern Washington University (Cheney/Spokane) and a BA in English at Hiram College (Hiram, Ohio). He is founder and executive director of the Collective Arts Network and editor and publisher of CAN Journal. He prints his woodcuts in studios at the Morgan Conservatory and Zygote Press in Cleveland.
Gill lived, worked, and studied in Washington, DC; England; Wales; and Ecuador before returning to Cleveland. His poetry has been published in dozens of literary and other magazines, including Rolling Stone, and several chapbooks, which include The Atheist at Prayer (March Street Press, Greensboro, North Carolina) and The Solution to the Crisis is Revolution: Graffiti of Ecuador, collected and translated (Ox Head Press, Browerville, Minnesota).
Gill participated in a in a 2014 artist exchange in Dresden, Germany, and a 2017 residency in Matanzas, Cuba. He has been the solo artist in several Cleveland galleries and has been included in group shows nationally and internationally. He has published six books and three monographs.
Gill’s books are held in the Cleveland Public Library Special Collections, as well as in artist book collections of Baylor University; Columbus College of Art and Design; Otis College of Art and Design; the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art; Graffikwerkstatt Dresden (Germany); and Ediciones Vigia (Matanzas, Cuba), as well as in private collections in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom.
When visiting the Studio M exhibition, visitors can also view Un-settling: A Story of Land Removal and Resistance (March 26 through May 22) in the Aultman Health Foundation Gallery; Threads Moving Backward and Forward: Contemporary Textile Artworks from Ohio (April 2 through May 18) and Accessible Expressions Ohio (May 28 through July 20) in the Fred F. Silk Community Room Gallery; Tiger Legacy: The Story Continues (through July 10) and the Paul Brown/Massillon Tiger Football History Timeline (always on display) in the Paul Brown Museum; Clicking for a Cause (April 30 through June 15) in the Lower Level Lobby; Collection Spotlight: Faces of Massillon Business in the Photography Gallery; The Immel Circus; the Local History Gallery; and the Albert E. Hise Fine and Decorative Arts Gallery.
The Massillon Museum receives operating support from the Ohio Arts Council and ArtsinStark, as well as marketing support from Visit Canton. This project was funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Exhibitions can be seen during regular MassMu hours, Tuesday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sunday 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., and during extended hours from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on the last Saturday of each month in collaboration with downtown Massillon’s Last Saturday event.
MassMu is located at 121 Lincoln Way East in downtown Massillon. A visit is always free. Free parking is available on adjacent streets and in nearby city lots. For more information, call 330-833-4061 or visit massillonmuseum.org.
Alexandra Nicholis Coon, Massillon Museum Executive Director • 330-833-4061 x111
Emily Vigil, Studio M Coordinator • firstname.lastname@example.org
Margy Vogt, Massillon Museum Public Relations Coordinator • 330-844-1525