Janet Turner Print Museum

Turner to Present "Rubbings" Exhibition Oct. 5 - Oct. 29

Experience 206BC China, Cambodia and Thailand through one of the earliest forms of printmaking – rubbings.

The Turner Print Museum, located in the Meriam Library on the CSU, Chico campus, is presenting an art exhibition entitled "Impressions: Rubbings," October 5 - Oct. 29.

While historically rubbings have been made from carved bone, jade, brick, tile, ceramics and cast bronze, most of the works that will be displayed at The Turner are from stone tombs and shrines.

A rubbing is a form of printmaking – the reverse of relief printing where the surface is inked and the paper picks up that impression. In a rubbing the paper is placed over a bas-relief, or something with texture, and a crayon or ink is "rubbed" across the surface and records the impression. Rubbings predate press printed images.

"For the first time Chico State and the Chico community will get to experience these rubbings and learn how this art form was used as a prominent way of communication," noted Catherine Sullivan, Curator of the Turner.

A reception and curator's talk takes place Thursday, October 7 at 5:30 p.m. Special guest will be master storyteller Adrienne Scott, Curator of the Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology, CSU, Chico. Her expertise is communicating cultures through stories and myths.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), founded in 1945, originally produced the Chinese rubbings that will be exhibited. They are on paper, but not rubbed from the original caves, tombs or shrines. To preserve these original artifacts the rubbings were made from casts, or re-carved blocks from the original sites.

"The rubbings have been at Chico State since at least 1961 and have been used as art history teaching-tools, but they have never been exhibited," said Sullivan.

Visitors will also get to experience temple shrine rubbings from Thailand and Cambodia.

"These rubbings are of characters from the Hindu 'Ramayana,' and Buddhist 'Ramakien.' Each rubbing tells a tale of human existence that is prominent to the culture and its heritage."

Other rubbings in the exhibition shine a spotlight on a particular culture's daily activities, spiritual beings, animals and carved text.

Making rubbings of artifacts found at cultural sites was once a popular souvenir activity for tourists but due to wear and tear most sites are now protected, said Sullivan.

"The constant rubbing can over time wear away the original image."

This exhibit is part of the local Artoberfest and its "Mystery, Museums and Mayhem," a community-based activity where visitors tour local museums looking for clues to identify a particular piece of art or artifact. For more information about "Mystery, Museums and Mayhem" contact Karen Wilke.

Sullivan said the Turner is encouraging people to do their own rubbings. There will be art supplies, paper and instructions available in the museum so visitors can find interesting textures, signs or grave markers to do their own rubbings of. A wall inside the Turner is reserved for these contributed artworks.