On April 9, Associate Professor of Art Carrie Scanga hosted printmaker Mizin Shin for a lecture on her recent work. During her talk, Shin showcased some of her most notable projects and demonstrated the art form’s unique ability to depict contemporary challenges.
Shin’s print “How Things are Consumed”—which features french fries as a focal point— is emblematic of her provocative style. Through the piece, Shin captures the imbalance between the economy of consumption and the food manufacturing and distribution process. The print leads viewers through a maze of agricultural and manufacturing motifs, halting the viewers’ eyes at two different french fry displays.
Shin hopes the piece will prompt her audience to consider whether the value of food is more dependent on production or presentation.
“The work shows [that] what we pay for is a lot more than just what’s on our plates or in our paper boxes,” Shin said during her lecture. “Depending on how it is distributed, food can be high-end and fancy, or budget and cheap.”
Shin’s prints often harness the cyclical and modular nature of printmaking to illustrate the interconnectivity of systems—from the process of manufacturing cookies, to complex social and economic networks.
“By showing intrinsic connections among simple objects, [print] works can shine light on the idea that all elements of our systems are of significance from the individual, to the larger construct,” Shin said.
In her lecture, Shin emphasized the versatility of printmaking and outlined her experience working in both traditional and contemporary styles. The interplay between these two styles has often led Shin to experiment with light and three-dimensional components alongside print work.
Shin’s innovation extends well outside the gallery; she is also a visiting assistant professor at the University of Rochester and a co-founder of Mirabo Press, a printmaking studio in Buffalo.
Shin believes that collaborating with local art communities often leads to insightful, multidisciplinary work.
“As a professor and co-founder of Maribu Press, I often work with local, national and international artists,” said Shin. “[This] means it can also be more like a collaborative process than individually working.”