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When New York-based curator and former Washington artist José Ruiz offered Bridget Sue Lambert a job as a printer, she jumped at the opportunity. His new digital print shop, Furthermore, first unveiled in a Washington Post article last fall, would allow her to work toward a full partnership with Ruiz. And, finally, she’d be working in D.C.
Furthermore—which is hosting its first public open house on Saturday, Feb. 26—is a win for Lambert, who’s been hauling printing jobs for Washington artists to process at Annapolis’ Aagpa Editions for nine years. Now that work will stay in town.
Washington, of course, already boasts print shops, including Vivid Solutions and Adamson Editions. So what is Furthermore bringing to D.C.? If Lambert has her way, her shop will change the way artists make work.
“We’re using PhotoTex, for example. It’s an adhesive fabric that can be used to do wall murals,” Lambert says. “What’s exciting to me about it is that it can be used on the walls or windows. It’s not translucent, but light can come through it. You can cut it [into shapes]. It makes big work, it peels right off the wall and can be reused, and it doesn’t damage the wall.”
The Furthermore open house will coincide with an opening at Civilian Art Projects for photographer Jason Falchook, whose work is being printed at Furthermore. Civilian and Furthermore share the building at 1019 7th St. NW; although Furthermore has been open since October, the open house will serve as the shop’s christening. To celebrate, they’ll be displaying various papers they’re offering artists—from traditional photo papers to more novel printing materials like satin cloth—and sample work printed on their Epson 9900.
The open house will also mark the realization of phase one in Ruiz’s grand scheme: a digital print shop. Next comes phase two, an incubation program to produce unlimited-edition, functional, usable objects based on prototypes designed by artists working with engineers and other collaborators. Jongil Ma, one such artist, is working on a design for a simple, collapsible, reusable frame—a project that was bound to appeal to Ruiz. A favorite son of the D.C. art scene from his days in the Decatur Blue collective in the early ’00s, Ruiz was a standard-bearer for the DIY ethos that exploded from the art scene’s margins back then.
But the print shop might be the only aspect of Ruiz’s grand scheme—including plans for a design incubator and a gallery space, as the Post reported—that will be centered around D.C. That gallery space, whose opening is still some time away, may be anchored in New York, where Ruiz has worked as a curator with the Queens Museum of Art, Bronx Museum of the Arts, and the Bronx River Art Center.
Most of the artists whose prints will be on display at the open house hail from New York. But Lambert says D.C. artists like Patrick McDonough, Isabel Manalo, Maggie Michael, and recent D.C. émigré Trish Tillman are cottoning to the new printing possibilities. Billy Colbert is printing work there that will serve as décor at the Iron Horse Taproom on 7th Street NW.
“Most artists in our circle don’t make paintings and then make prints,” says Lambert. “But we did a whole bunch for Civilian for the ‘Editions’ show” in December. “Erick Jackson, Cara Ober. It’s kind of fun to be above Civilian. We’re the next generation of the art people going out there.”