Midwest Pressed Bio:
Midwest Pressed was established in 2011 as a limited-liability partnership (LLP) based in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The press produces fine art prints based on the artistic activities of its owners and operators, Aaron Wilson and Tim Dooley. The pair began collaborating while teaching printmaking and foundations together at the University of Northern Iowa. Prior to starting Midwest Pressed, Tim and Aaron created printed artworks known primarily for using the medium in an experimental fashion that included sculptural applications and installations. Apart from their individual accomplishments, they have collaborated on an extensive body of artwork that has been shown widely around the United States in museums and university galleries. Their work has been characterized as walking the line between the museum and the street with a pop art dialogue that does not bother to draw a distinction between high and low culture.
The pair has also been visiting artists at many institutions around the nation where they have given workshops and lectures pertaining to their work and contemporary printmaking. Additionally, they have had multiple group and solo exhibitions at professional printmaking conferences. In 2012 the pair installed an exhibition titled Worn Out, at the Southern Graphics Council International Conference in New Orleans. In 2009, they were Resident Artists at Anchor Graphics in Chicago. Their artwork is featured in a number of recent publications on printmaking such as The Complete Engraver, Princeton Architectural Press, 2012, Printmaking: A Complete Guide to Materials and Processes, Prentice Hall, 2009, and A Survey of Contemporary Printmaking, Ladymuse, 2012.
Midwest Pressed Artist Statement:
We embrace contradiction and hypocrisy because printmakers have a privileged creative position, allowing for copious amounts of both. The processes that we practice are the technological foundations, failures, and triumphs of history. We can use the medium in an exclusive manner, creating works with inherent characteristics and nuances that are appreciated by the initiated. We can then turn around and embrace the democratic, commercial, or despicable vehicles of propaganda. Sometimes we seemed spoiled by it, but the complete spectrum of printmaking is so broad that it’s intoxicating.
Printmaking’s voice is prominent in a chorus of mixed-media approaches including sculpture, installation, video, and new media hybrids. It’s continued use seems inevitable considering the recent flood of 3-D printing technologies. Once the ‘objecthood’ of the print is grasped, there really isn’t any other prerequisite for understanding why someone would want to expand their definition of the medium. However, all of the coercing and theorizing of print into foreign territory doesn’t satisfy the obvious need to answer the simple questions that brought both of our creative trajectories together under its banner.
We are art fans, inspired by a diverse range of influences. While we are comfortable making art that takes a stand, we are not comfortable with making art that is singular in its interpretation. Part of being a collaborative team entails balancing flexibility and scrutiny. Our choice of subject matter encourages that relationship and can act as a platform to invigorate the printmaking processes that we engage through reaction and spontaneity. We are also an art business. Our loftiest ideas are applied to everything that we do and we are guilty of spending as much time printing a t-shirt as we do printing work for museum exhibitions. It is wonderful that printmaking allows for this situation and we continue not knowing where the art starts or stops.