Artist Update: Matina Marki Tillman Late Summer / Early Fall Exhibitions

Carmen

They don’t let Carmen dance

Arabesque

Arabesque

Artist member Matina Marki Tillman will have prints on display in two national exhibitions during August and September.

“They don’t let Carmen dance,” a solarplate etching that carries on the artist’s series of charcoal drawings on vellum directly etched onto solarplates, is currently on display in the Northwest Area Arts Council’s Real People 2014, a show dedicated to the human figure and portraiture (Aug. 7 through Sept. 28). This recent work is the artist’s homage to the uncompromised female, as portrayed in two of her lifelong inspirations, Bizet’s opera, Carmen, and Kakoyiannis’ film Stella. Also this fall, “Arabesque,” the first of this series of etchings, will be hosted in the Salmagundi Club gallery in New York City for the Hudson Valley Art Association’s 82nd National Juried Exhibition running from Sept. 20-26.

“They don’t let Carmen dance” was also featured in the inaugural Washington Printmakers Gallery member’s exhibition at the new Georgetown gallery space in July. With the upcoming Hudson Valley show, prints from the “Arabesque” edition will be appearing in their sixth national exhibition in two years, including venues at the Customs House Museum in Clarksville, Tennessee; the Museum of Printing History in Houston, Texas; and the New York Society of Etchers national intaglio exhibition in New York’s National Arts Club gallery. This September, “Arabesque” will travel home to be included in the member’s show in WPG’s new gallery.

Intern Perspectives: 2014 National Small Works Exhibition & Diane Alire’s “Waiting for Godot”

Diane Alire "Shaded"

Diane Alire “Shaded”

From July 30th – August 31st, 2014, Washington Printmakers Gallery presents the 17th Annual National Small Works Exhibition. This exhibition displays thirty non-members’ works originating from across the country and selected by juror Jack Rasmussen, director and curator of the Katzen Center at American University. Running concurrently is the solo exhibition Waiting for Godot by the 2013 grand prizewinner, Diane Alire. Alire’s exhibition features twenty unique photogravures, which “juxtapose and layer the female and male figures with landscapes, images of walls, graffiti, and textures found in natural and urban settings.”

Alire’s work explores the human figure in artistic ways. She makes the figure a part of landscape and the world around it. Portraiture and landscape come together to create contemporary prints that surprise and challenge the viewer. Her 2013 Small Works prizewinning piece, Waiting for Godot, sets the tone for the exhibition. This piece explores the costumed female dancer figure, while the rest of the exhibition explores figures in the nude, particularly Shaded. Shaded juxtaposes a female nude, waist up, against a window. The female and window alternate foreground with background, and in a sense, the piece surrenders those two labels. In one way, the female is the subject in the window, and in another way, the female stands before the window. How are human figures reflected in our surroundings and how do our surroundings house those figures? Alire contrasts soft human curves against hard angular structures. Shaded acts as a window into the artistic mind where wall and figure combine to create one subject matter, which Alire masters.

While Alire’s exhibition explores similar themes in various interpretations, this year’s National Small Works Exhibition takes on many artists with unique themes, few which are similar. From pears to numbers, the Small Works exhibition exemplifies subjects’ and printmaking’s variety and potential. Elizabeth Dove’s All Letters demonstrates the many levels that make a print. Dove layers letters A – Z to create a simple yet complex print. Solely black and white, this print allows the letters to act as the work’s main focus. The artist takes a familiar concept, letters of the alphabet, and makes it art. She complicates and plays with our preconceived idea of what the alphabet should look like on paper. In this print, components of literature become art and art becomes literature. Much like Diane Alire’s works, All Letters plays with two concepts that become one.

Diane Alire "Push"

Diane Alire “Push”

July Receptions

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New Space in Georgetown

Washington Printmakers Gallery new space in Georgetown

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Our New Gallery

Whew! There have been lots of changes recently, including our move to a brand new, beautiful gallery space in Georgetown. Photos to come. Washington Printmakers Gallery in Georgetown

Intern Perspectives: Neena Birch’s “A Wonder-Filled Life”

Lauren King, our intern from Pennsylvania State University, wrote the following reaction to our current exhibition,”A Wonder-Filled Life” by Neena Birch. The show will continue through Sunday, June 29th. 

From May 28 – June 29, 2014, Washington Printmakers Gallery presents a retrospective exhibition on Neena Birch’s extensive collection entitled A Wonder-Filled Life. A one-time member of WPG, Birch created these 60 prints, drawings and paintings, which all demonstrate her diverse and evolving artistic style. This exhibition pays tribute to that talent and consequently her admirable creative impact that still lives.

Neena Birch’s works combine nature with imagination. Upon entering, the viewer sees the moss-covered sculpture Bed. It awaits a sleeper, and in a sense, the visit resembles a reverie. Birch uses recurring themes such as birds, women, pears, and flowers, and gives these everyday subjects meaning and creativity. Her women become trees; the pears are anthropomorphized, while the birds take on a life of their own. These works evoke emotion and thought that may differ with each viewer. No piece is the same, yet they all evoke a sense of Birch’s artistic hand and mind.

Birch’s exhibit exemplifies variations on recurrent themes, and this exhibition links these themes in one show. One fascinating theme is the flower. Her floral depictions are unlike any of her other works, which made me question her intention. They seem like the work of another artist, but similar to the rest of her works, they too are fantasized. Like the pears, the birds, and the other subjects, the flower lithographs have their own variations: they are larger than life. Birch creates an enlarged depiction where curves, shadows, and shapes make up the flower. They are dreamlike and realistic at the same time. Monochromatic yet enticing, these lithographs break down the flowers’ forms and give the viewer new perspectives. Neena Birch’s works demonstrate her true artistic talent that creates new realities.

Insight from artist Max-Karl Winkler

Max-Karl Winkler, Washington Printmakers Gallery member artist, wrote the following post. 

 

It often happens that I make a sketch, intending to turn it later into a print or a painting, and then weeks or months or years go by before the print or the painting emerges. Sometimes that delay is caused by the time it takes to develop the concept, to translate it into another medium, to refine a composition, and to produce the final version. I suspect, however, that the delay is often caused by the time required for the artist’s internal mental or aesthetic processes to complete their work.

An extreme example of that practice is occurring within my current project, a series of four woodcuts, each depicting the head and back of a long-haired dancing woman. This month I’m exhibiting the third of the series; the fourth is being carved.

Although the project may be current, it has had a long gestation. In the summer of 1978 I was living in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, working as a free-lance artist. I was commissioned to make two pen-and-ink drawings of female nudes, one to present to a staff member at Colorado Mountain College who had organized a very successful women’s conference, and the other to present to that same staff member as she resigned to return to her home in Massachusetts.

I haven’t seen those drawings in 36 years, but I liked them well enough to make photostats of them before delivering them to the college. Even then, I had in mind that they could turn into interesting woodcuts. It was only a year ago, however, that I looked at some fine maple boards that my son had sent to me, and considered that the time had come to turn those drawings–made the year that that son was born–into a new form.

The rest, of course, is a matter of time and work. Now I’m asking myself, “Is a series of four enough? What about a series of six?–or eight?”