From December 12th to January 9th, the Cornerstone Cafe is showing Young and Old, a selection of hand printed lino-block prints by Nic Vandergugten.

Please join us for his opening party, on Thursday, December 15th from 7-10pm in the cafe.

Curated and written by Jaime Lynn Clifton

Nic Vandergugten, a Victoria-based printmaker, offers a contemporary approach to the traditional practice of linograph and block printing. Born in Victoria’s historical Chinatown, Vandergugten spent his early childhood surrounded by a developing art scene that resided within the immense loft apartments above Chinese grocers, cafes and restaurants. This distinct abode exposed him to such artists as Louise Merino, Darcy Gould, Harry Shafer, and his own father, Bert Vandergugten. He is now in the midst of returning to his roots and reestablishing himself as a Chinatown resident.

Vandergugten’s integration of craft traditions not only enable him to utilize techniques pioneered by masters in printmaking and illustration, such as Albrecht Dürer, but also provide him with a medium in which he can establish a contemporary language that echoes artistic traditions. His interest in Japanese woodblock printers, Naoko Matsubara and Shikō Munakata, also convey his desire to utilize elemental printmaking techniques.

Vandergugten’s sketches and prints present a consciousness of pictorial structure and the inherent framed boundaries. His work simultaneously investigates the connections and disconnections between the inner and outer world. His striking gestural aesthetic is reminiscent of the highly emotive and exposed work of the Expressionist artists, Edvard Much and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Through his work, Vandergugten offers a high degree of emotion and honesty that subsequently facilitates his viewers with diverse personal or shared experiences.

His recent works include a continual visual documentation of Victoria’s Johnson Street Bridge, known as the ‘Blue Bridge’. Through sketches and prints, Vandergugten is able to present the life and death of this iconic landmark through expressively inked imagery. He is currently developing a series of plates illustrating the personal account of a Nanaimo based gold miner who traveled through the Yukon during the early 20th century. His work will be exhibited at the Cornerstone Café in late December 2011 along with the Burnaby Library, in Vancouver, in mid 2012.