For those looking for pictures of this month’s Excellence in Printmaking exhibition, check back in tomorrow – the nasty cold that has been going around means we’re a little short on help this week and just a bit behind! In the mean time, read Cori Barton’s take on Lila Oliver Asher’s work. Cori is one of WPG’s current interns and a printmaking student at MICA. Lila Oliver Asher is the solo artist in next month’s show.
A nostalgic aura is present in Lila Oliver Asher’s work. The atmosphere of the prints read as distant memories, or of events that are familiar yet very far away.
The subject matter of the prints includes simple scenarios: young girls getting dressed, a boy drinking a glass of milk, or children playing on a playground. However, the way that Asher depicts space, texture, and the figure transforms these images from prints on a wall to experiences that we all have had, and can in some ways relive through her work.
The remarkable element about “Hopscotch”, a linocut printed in 1995, is the portrayal of the environment around the kids playing hopscotch. In the background you can see a nearby sandbox, with other kids playing. This is all of the information Asher will give. The rest is blank, making the hopscotch and sandbox look like islands far away from each other. The kids are floating in space, perhaps in the mind, and all that exists in that moment is the game of hopscotch that they are playing. Asher manages to capture and preserve a moment and feeling that everyone has felt, yet she delivers it to us in a way that we haven’t seen before.
Most of the figures that Asher renders are in a black-figure style, which is very recognizable and usually identified with ceramics that were made in ancient Greece. This associates a time period with the work, and automatically takes the viewer into the past.
Her work, however, does not seem to be about the figures themselves, but about their interactions with each other and their environment. What Lila Oliver Asher accomplishes beautifully is that she sheds to light to the minutest events, and by doing that her work is able to grab and hold the viewer, and potentially make the connection from her work to their own experiences.