Professor Ron Abram, printmaking & drawing, has been away from Bryant this year on sabbatical. During this time Abram has been globetrotting to participate in multiple artist printmaking residencies at Art Print Residence in Barcelona, Spain (July 2022), In Cahoots Residency in Petaluma, Calif. (September-October 2022) and as a printmaker-in-residence for six weeks at Temple University Rome, Rome, Italy (February-March 2023). He’s been invited back and will return to Barcelona this coming July.

While in Ohio, Abram’s been making work at Columbus Printed Arts Center. His new sabbatical body of work includes three separate print series. The Por Cayetano series mixes copper etching with photopolymer plates to place the nude male body within a personal queer space. They envision a dialogue between Catalonian history and his great-great-great grandfather Cayetano Roger, who immigrated from Palamos, Spain, to Puerto Rico in the 19th century

With his second concurrent series of prints, Abram again uses copper etchings to draw from historical gay erotica source materials to explore intimate sexual relationships, and to offer commentary on power dynamics, gender roles and toxic masculinity in our current American political landscape.

Entitled “Wranglers,” this is a series of twenty 12” circles. Collectively, the prints are choreographed compositions of cowboys, greatly inspired by physique magazines produced by and for gay men in the 1950s. Magazines such as Physique Pictorial produced by Bob Mizer celebrated bodybuilding culture and classical art figure posing as a queer means with which to share homoerotic male images and evade charges of obscenity.

The work on this particular series led Abram to visit the archives of the Kinsey Institute in Bloomington, Indiana, with further inspiration coming from early 20th century American gay artists such as Paul Cadmus, Jarrod French, Rockwell Kent, George Tooker and most profoundly George Platt Lynes.

In Rome, Professor Abram began a third, more complex series of prints mixing etching and photopolymer print processes inspired by the life and work of gay Italian poet/writer/filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini. Through a Greater Columbus Arts Council Grant, he began making artist books and zines this year and exhibited them recently at the Columbus Art Book Fair at the Pizzuti Collection this May.

Abram’s new sabbatical prints were also seen in April as part of PrintSantaFe, a month-long celebration of printmaking in Santa Fe, NM. He was one of five national artists selected for 5 x 5 2023, a group exhibition at Zane Bennet Contemporary Gallery in conjunction with the print fair. Professor Abram was interviewed by Miranda Metcalf for her podcast Hello Print Friend, dedicated to the celebration of contemporary printmaking and its culture. 

This October, Abram will show new prints in a two-person exhibition in Guanajuato, Mexico, as part of the city’s International Cervantino Festival. The largest cultural event in Latin America celebrating visual and performing arts, Abram will travel to Guanajuato as an invited guest to offer an artist talk and workshops at the University of Guanajuato. 

Denison’s Bowen Faculty Fellowship supported Abram’s sabbatical travels.

May 25, 2023