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THE ART OF THE LETTERPRESS
at Croft Art Gallery (Waco) until August 24
by Todd Camplin

If you find yourself driving down I-35 to Austin, a visit to Waco’s Croft Art Gallery makes for a great
stop along the way. I know what you are thinking, Waco has an art gallery worth visiting? When
it comes to The Croft Art Gallery, I have found a consistent quality of shows. Last month the gallery
featured Bruce Lee Web, with his folk art style and quirky images, I found the show charming, but
challenging. This Friday, August the 3rd, the gallery opens with a print show. On display are the
works of Lisa Gabriel, Virginia Green, John Hunt, Casey McGarr, Kim Neiman, and Virgil Scott.
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The show titled “The Art of the Letterpress,” is heavy on graphic design influences, as you
might image from the title. Lisa Gabriel’s series of “Zero thru Nine” monoprints and
letterpress were displayed just beautifully. I was impressed with the simple, but very
effective design. Each work uses slick mirror images of numbers with the focal point
number in the center of each piece. Maybe it is the Jolly Ranchers I had today, but
I thought the colors were a delicious orange and green. As a grouping, these works
were strong musings on the numbers. My guess is that each work would also be great as
a stand alone piece. Virgil Scott has displayed next to Gabriel a perfect complement
print. Scott’s hand carved linoleum type titled, “TX” has a wide type font, and though
mostly pink and yellow, the colors are mixed through the printmaking process to create
saltwater taffy orange. Virgil Scott and Kim Neiman (also in the show) run Studio 204 in
Austin where they use letter presses. Their skills and passions seem to shine through each
piece they have made.
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Casey McGarr created prints that look to be made for an off the wall ad campaign.  In the
work, “Give Me Twenty-Six,” McGarr references the famous eye charts you see in doctor’s
offices, but the print reads like the disconnected text of a Christopher Wool painting and
is as fun to comprehend. Another work of McGarr declares, “he’s all hat and no cattle.”
Not being a Texas native, I will have to assume this is a local colloquialism.
Virginia Green

The moment I saw Virginia Green’s work, I knew she had to be a graphic designer or teach
design. Turns out she teaches at Baylor and the works are a perfect balance of animal,
text (big and small), and background texture. You might say a textbook example of good
design with a soft touch. Worth a mention are John Hunt’s conceptual pieces. Word art
can’t help but play in the conceptual art realm, but all the work in this show is more playful
and less heavy in content. Its good to have fun with words.
Lisa Gabriel
Casey McGarr
These prints will be on display until August 24th. And while you are there, ask to meet some
local artists in the upstairs artist studio spaces.
Virgil Scott