An Interview with Cary Hulbert
New York-based artist Cary Hulbert creates work that embodies all the ideas we were considering when we began this series on “Women in Expanded Print”. She draws from an incredibly skillful background in printmaking and gracefully fluctuates between generating smaller works on paper and constructing bold spatial installations.
Throughout her sculptural and installation-based pieces, echoes of print can be constantly felt; the use of mirrors allows for a visual doubling akin to printed impressions and her interior spaces still feel bound to their perimeter the way an etching is to its copper plate. Cary was kind enough to answer a few of our questions below.
When did you start printing?
I started printing in high school. I did a pre-college program and studied drawing, painting, and printmaking. I came back obsessed with printmaking and was sponsored my senior year of high school to participate in the Monothon at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Norwalk, CT. I ended up majoring in printmaking, and after I got my BFA, I just had to continue printing.
Did your work become more multidisciplinary during your MFA studies, or did you maintain a focus on print-based projects?
I definitely developed a multidisciplinary practice at Columbia. In their program, you enter through a discipline and leave with a Masters of Visual Arts. The program is very committed to teaching artists to explore and pursue whichever medium best communities the idea. I wanted to do two things during my masters. First was to push my printmaking practice into less traditional, contemporary, boundary bushing forms of printmaking. And Secondly, to start from absolutely no experience, creating installations.
I think I equally focused on both. Since my background is in printmaking, I think it became a safe spot for me, where I could experiment with more control versus working blindly which is how I felt working most of the time sculpturally.
I struggled with merging my printmaking practice and my installation practice while in the program. I couldn’t figure out how to do it and settled on accepting that it would inevitably happen. Looking back on all the work I created in those two years, the overlap now seems obvious to me, and I’m surprised I couldn’t see it then.
How do you see your print background informing your more expanded practice?
This question gets my favorite answer, which is that printmaking is a toolset for almost everything. And I absolutely believe this. My print experience not only informs it but creates my expanded practice. It’s through printmaking that I even ended up using laser machines, large format printers and also working with plexiglass. That is to say; my background informs my other practices both through medium and though thought process.
I think of my installations as bringing my prints to life, and I think of my prints as stills of my installations. Although I give myself the freedom to let my work be what I want it to be, both practices are in constant dialog with each other.
Who would you love to collaborate with?
I would love to collaborate with Pierre Huyghe. Both in the form of installation and print. I don’t think he’s made an edition before - at least not with a shop I know of or could find online. I’ve found non-printmakers make outstanding prints. They bring so many new ideas to the table. They aren’t restricted by traditional methodologies, rules, or limits.
Where are some of your favorite spaces in New York for contemporary art or design?
My favorite gallery in the city is Postmasters. I think they show fun, raw, and contemporary works. I’ve never seen a show there that I haven’t left thinking about for days.
The Kitchen, MoMA PS1, Bridget Donahue, Canada, The New Museum, and Re: Art Show, which is a gallery that moves around the Pfizer building in Brooklyn are favorites that I visit frequently and keep an eye on. I would have added Signal to the list, but they recently closed, which is very sad. I like experimental work and artist’s that have a multidisciplinary practice that’s evident in their work.
What are you working on at the moment?
I just installed an installation in Pelham, NY at the Pelham Arts Center so I’m taking a break from sculpture and working on prints. Having a deadline is fun and part of the job, but it’s so nice when you don’t have one and can work on whatever you want! I am getting back into hand-drawn etchings. I became obsessed with photogravure in grad school and wanted to revisit the work that got me into the program but approach it with everything I’ve learned since then. So at the moment, I’m making small etchings, that typically have a digitally printed chine-colle background. They seem somewhat traditional to me, which I’m enjoying at the moment. I’m also working on some collaborations, and 3D printed objects too. Winter is a good time for planning and hatching ideas.