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
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.
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?”
Emma Quander, our intern from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), wrote the following reaction to our current exhibition Jambo, Tanzania by Marian Osher. This show will continue through Sunday, May 25.
From April 30 – May 25, Washington Printmakers Gallery (WPG) member Marian Osher presents her exhibition Jambo, Tanzania at WPG. Osher and her husband Chuck went on a safari last summer to Tanzania, Africa. She was inspired by the wildlife and the conversation her art can bring to preserving wildlife.
The exhibition is a collection of 50 colorful monotypes of the Tanzanian wildlife. Eighteen of the prints shown in the gallery are mounted on painted canvas. By presenting the prints on the warm color canvas it gives the show a gentle tone. Osher paints and draws her images on plates by using different water soluble media. She then embossed areas of the prints to create more depth. Her work is very painterly, giving off the feel of a watercolor and colored pencil. By giving a soft delicate look, Osher is able to show the beauty of the outdoors.
As I view the show, my being is instantly transported into the print, imaging the sun beaming down my face, the cool air blowing. Osher illustrates a variety of animals in the their natural habitat. I am able to feel the freedom, strength and wisdom of these animals unlike the ones you find in the zoo. I was mainly drawn to the print Herd of Wildebeest (v.e. 1/5). It embodies the importance of family and community. Herd of Wildebeest illustrates the strength these animals have by traveling in numbers. Osher’s monotype is drawn very expressively and softly, giving it a feel of calmness. The show highlights the importance of preserving this beautiful world and its wildlife.
On Saturday, May 3, WPG member artist Marian Osher hosted the opening reception for her current exhibition, Jambo, Tanzania. Below, you will find several photos from the event.
During this reception, Osher gave a talk and demonstration – then presented a framed print to our special guest, Ambassador Liberata Mulamula of Tanzania. The print was a lioness and was titled Guardian Protector in English and in Swahili. Tanzanian Tourism Officer Mrs. Immaculata Diyamett accompanied Ambassador Mulamula. Marie Frei, Membership Service Associate for the African Wildlife Foundation, also attended the event.
During her presentation, Osher talked about her visit to Tanzania – the safari, the wildlife, and Tanzania’s role in protecting the wildlife. Ambassador Mulamula also addressed the crowd of more than 70 people who attended the event. It was a day that truly blended art, goodwill, wildlife protection and people from different cultures and walks of life.
From April 30-May 25, Washington Printmakers Gallery will present the work of member artist Marian Osher in her solo exhibit Jambo, Tanzania. The opening exhibition for this show will take place 1-4pm on Saturday, May 3. Below, you will find more information on Osher’s work and exhibit.
“The thrill of sighting a rhinoceros transformed into shock when our guide told us there were only 13 left in the Serengeti.” – Marian Osher
Realizing a Dream
Marian Osher and her husband Chuck realized a dream, when they went on a safari last summer to Tanzania, Africa. They learned that African wildlife has been threatened by poachers, cyberhunters and trophy hunters. Elephants and rhinoceros have been killed for their tusks. Fear of diseases carried by the tsetse fly has historically provided “justification” for reduction of the African wildlife population.
Moments in the Lives of Tanzanian Wildlife
Fifty colorful monotypes present an “alphabet” of Tanzanian wildlife – birds, baboons, cape buffalo, a cheetah, dikdiks, elephants, giraffes, grants gazelles, hartebeests, hippopotamuses, impalas, lions, leopards, a lizard, monkeys, ostriches, a rhinoceros, Thomson’s gazelles, wildebeests, warthogs, and zebras.
Two Avenues of Presentation Expand the Viewers Experience
Mixed-Media Embossed Monotypes on Painted Canvas
Eighteen of the prints on the wall are mixed-media monotypes on canvas.
Creating the Monotype: Osher draws and paints her image on a mylar plate, using a combination of water-soluble media. Next, she transfers the image to dampened paper with her etching press. After the monotype is dried under weights over night, Osher tears off the white border around the print with a deckled edge ruler.
Hand embossing: Osher decides which areas of the print she wants to emboss. First she uses a stylus to score the edges of shapes on the front side of the print. Then she turns the print over and uses a burnisher to hand emboss the shape that she want to raise.
“I like to experiment with techniques and presentation. The deckled edge of the paper casts a shadow on the painted canvas and adds dimension to the artwork.” – Marian Osher
The Canvas and Assembly: Osher paints the canvas using a subtle combination of colors that complement the print and relate to the colors of the Tanzanian dirt roads. She cuts an acid free foam board to a size that will allow the deckled edge of the print to extend slightly over the foam board. The foam board is lightly filed, sealed with Golden GAC 100 medium and painted on the edge to match the color of the canvas. The print is sealed with an isolation coat of diluted Golden Soft Gel medium and is mounted with the same medium, undiluted, onto the foam board. The foam board is mounted on the canvas. The canvas and the print are then treated with three final varnishes to protect and preserve the artwork without glass.
Mixed-Media Embossed Monotypes in Wood Frames
Viewers can also enjoy twenty monotypes, matted and framed in wood frames that complement the artwork. The framed monotypes are also selectively hand embossed, as are several matted prints in the bin.
Sharing the Gifts
Osher expresses gratitude for the opportunity to witness glimpses of the daily life of wildlife in Tanzania. She feels that it was inspiring, and a special gift to see animals in their family and tribal groups in a natural setting. Creating the artwork for Jambo, Tanzania allows her to share the gift and insights that this experience brought to her.