Tag Archives: etching

Sneak Peek: Signs and Seasons

Next week is the opening of Margaret Adams Parker’s solo exhibition, Signs and Seasons (and also the Press Room Mini Solo In My Nature by Robin Gibson).  Saturday is the opening reception as well as the artist talk by Margaret Adams Parker.  In case you missed it in the Spring Newsletter, here’s a reprint of part of the article on this upcoming show:

ParkerImage2As I write this in early February I am lamenting – through two complex images – the frailty of advanced age.  Sunt lacrimae rerum is printed from an assemblage of 14 etched plates: five of them are based on drawings of my mother’s decline; the other nine “spacers” are darkened with dots and jagged lines – like the tangle of her mind.  Et mentem mortalia tangent pairs an etching of my mother with one of a man who is elderly but still alert.  I am experimenting with different arrangements and may possibly include counterproofs in the final composition.  The counterproof impression – a pale (and reversed) version of the etching- seems an apt metaphor for the losses that come with aging.  (The titles for these works are taken from Virgil’s Aeneid, Book 1:462, where Aeneas weeps as he stares at murals picturing his comrades lost in the Trojan War:  “Here are tears for things, and thoughts of mortality touch the mind.”)

ParkerImage3But all is not lament.  I am eager to work on more joyous images:  a fiddler playing jigs with his band; three young women sharing photos on the subway; my granddaughters.

In the etchings of the natural world, I depict the skeletal remains of once flourishing life:   ancient trees, fading leaves, bones, and seed pods.  But I couple these with images of new birth.  Signs and Seasons, the work that gives the show its title, celebrates the improbable return of life to a tree wrenched apart by a storm.  To accompany this work I have written a poem (an entirely new endeavor for me), reflecting on new life out of death…[this poem makes] explicit the commonality that I see between seasons in our lives and in the natural world, the words forming a bridge between these two parts of the show.

You can read Peggy’s poem, as well as see her etchings, sculpture, and drawings, May 1-26.  The opening reception is Saturday, May 4, 1-4 pm.

Margaret Adams Parker at Crossroads Gallery

Sculpture by Margaret Adams Parker

In an earlier post, we mentioned WPG member Margaret Adams Parker has an exhibition of 30 woodcuts, etchings, and sculpture on exhibition at the Crossroads Gallery, The Goodwin House, Bailey’s Crossroads.  The show, “So teach us to number our days…” includes 40 of the artist’s works and will run through August 5.  A reception is scheduled for this Sunday, July 15, from 4 to 6.  Beginning at 4pm Parker will give a short talk about her work.  Next Wednesday, July 18, she will offer a woodcut print exhibition at 10 am in the art studio adjoining the Crossroads Gallery.  Mark your calendars!

Background on “Three Figurative Printmakers.”

“Cafe” by Jack Boul

The show is up!  We’ll have pictures tomorrow (we’re still working on getting some labels up) but we thought you might want to know a little more about the three printmakers, which we introduced in a previous post, and their relationship.

Both Jack Boul and Robert D’Arista were teachers of Lee Newman’s.  The American University Style that characterizes them grew out of the Studio School at the Phillips Collection.  The Phillips Collection was one of the first modern-focused museums in the area.  At the time, most fine art programs were based at museums, like the Corcoran School of Art is today.  American University, at the time of Boul, D’Arista, and student Lee, was one of the first schools in the area to have a fine arts program outside of a direct museum affiliation.  Today, many schools have their own independent fine arts programs, but it was unusual back then.

“Seated Figure” by Robert D’Arista

While all three of these artists have worked in different media, this show focuses on the three for which they are each best known: Jack Boul’s monotypes, Robert D’Arista’s drypoints, and Lee Newman’s (soft-ground) etchings.  Robert D’Arista would make his own drypoint and engraving tools, smashing semi-precious stones and then supergluing the fragments into a mechanical pencil.  These uniquely shaped tools give his drypoints a distinct quality.

“Kitchen Worker” by Lee Newman

After D’Arista passed, Lee Newman received many of his plates from which to print editions.  Lee said he had to study D’Arista’s mark-making all over again, as well as the prints he printed himself, to recreate D’Arista’s special way of wiping.  Lee said his style of wiping a plate simply did not work with D’Arista’s images.

We hope you’ll join us for the Artist Reception with Jack and Lee on Sunday, July 8, 2-5 pm.  Check back tomorrow for installation shots!

Intern Perspectives: A Thing or Two

Summer Internships are underway at WPG.  We will have three lovely young ladies joining us this year, the first of whom, Laura Devinsky currently studying at Guilford College, started yesterday.  Laura jumped right into her internship duties and provided us with today’s blog entry on Ellen Verdon Winkler’s current solo show.  Haven’t seen it yet?  You have until Sunday (yes, we’re open this holiday weekend). 

“Two Things” by Ellen Verdon Winkler

At the Washington Printmakers Gallery this month, Ellen V. Winkler’s recent collection – “A Thing or Two” – has many intaglio with chine collé works, as well as a splash of pencil, charcoal, and monotype works in the mix. When Winkler says “A Thing or Two,” she is literally talking about several of her pieces. While some are more clear cut – a person or a house – there are several pieces where you are unsure of what the artwork is depicting. Is it an apple? A seed? A flower? The uncertainty lies in the viewer’s imagination to decipher what Winkler is depicting.

“Three Things” by Ellen Verdon Winkler

My favorite works are in a five-some series: “Two Things” (in charcoal), “Three Things,” “Two Things State I,” “Two Things State II,” and “Two Things” (intaglio with chine collé). This series shows Winkler’s attention to detail and shadowing with different materials. But throughout the series, at first glance I was unsure what these “things” were – were they cherries? Or were they balls on string? But after a few moments of deeper looking at the attention to detail – the lines depicting the ridges – it came to my attention that more likely than anything – they were the spikey seeds from trees that often appear in the spring or fall; and are quite prickly if one steps on one in bare feet.

“Cocoa” by Ellen Verdon Winkler

But not the whole collection is of these prickly seeds; Winkler shows her range of technique and interest of subject. There is the “Alley” where one could walk into the picture and feel right as if that’s where they were standing. With dark shadows and detailed stair railings, it gives off the emotion of somewhere where one may not want to be late at night. And then there is “Cocoa” a dog laying down, looking absolutely fluffy. With pen and ink Winkler has been able to capture this tired dog with the upmost precision. Finally, Winkler shows off a more abstract side with two monotypes and a charcoal piece entitled “Boulders, Rock Creek, I,” “Boulders, Rock Creek, V,” and “Boulders” (respectively). Winkler shows in her collection her range and love of detail; and she most definitely captures the idea that everything in the collection is “A Thing or Two.”

May Show Pics

Bebop the gallery dog welcomes you to our May shows!

Our May Exhibitions are up!  Ellen Verdon Winkler has her prolific new solo exhibition of recent works, called A Thing or Two, up in the main space.  In addition to her etchings, there are also some wonderful preliminary drawings and a few early states of finished prints.  You can see some of them here, but come in to truly experience them.  Ellen has left out magnifying glasses so you can get up close and personal with the work.  Also, starting tomorrow, we will have a slideshow going of macro-photographs Ellen took of her prints and plates.  You can really get a sense of how marks are made on a plate and how the ink and paper are pushed into these marks.  It’s too big for our wordpress blog, so you’ll have to come in to see it!  Also in the slideshow are some pics from our members show.  We have so much work in the gallery–this is by no means an exhaustive installation slideshow!

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From our Newsletter: NY Society of Etchers Invitational

The following is an excerpt from an article in our Winter Newsletter, which you can see in its entirety at the link above.

"Flying Fish in Blue" by Stephen Fredericks

The 2012 Invitational follows ‘Bewick’s Legacy: Six Contemporary British Wood Engravers’ as a second group invitational, which this time will show approximately forty prints by ten artists, all directors of the NY Society of Etchers. The prints of the NYSE will include a wide variety of stylistic approaches, from straight line etching to heavily scraped and re-worked plates, from improvisational and free handwork to more carefully planned images. Viewers visiting the exhibition will see both figurative and abstract images as well as prints that celebrate process, explore narrative subjects, or pursue conceptual approaches.

Richie Lasansky, whose work will be included in the exhibition, comments, “There is no particular theme or restriction for our show, and although we are the NY Etching Society, that isn’t an indication of our technical preferences and is actually more of a nod to a previous organization: the NY Etching Club (active from 1877-1894). As far as technique, there will be all kinds of etching: lift ground, soft ground, spit bite, aquatint, straw hat, white ground. Direct techniques (such as) dry point, scraping, burnishing and engraving, (as well as) monotype, solar plate etching and some paper litho. And even the odd woodcut or two.”

"Unrestrained" by Susan Sears

As a group of exhibiting artists, the NYSE began its formal exhibition program in 2000, creating and collaborating in 20 exhibitions of artist prints. Eight of these efforts have focused exclusively on the graphic arts of local emerging artists and not-for-profit workshops; thirteen of the shows have had international influences with collaborating artists from Hungary, China, France, Ireland, Peru, the Ukraine and Australia. The remaining seven exhibitions have been organized on behalf of cultural institutions in Bridgeport, CT, the Ukrainian Institute of America and the Paramount Center of the Arts in Peekskill, NY. So far, ten exhibitions have been documented with professionally published catalogues.

The NY Society of Etchers Invitational will be on view January 4-28, with an opening reception on Saturday, January 7 and a talk by Stephen Fredericks followed by a closing reception on Saturday, January 28, at 1:30 pm.

Margaret Adams Parker at the Arts Club of Washington

"Conversation, Crosstown Bus," by Margaret Adams Parker

WPG member artist Margaret Adams Parker is one of the featured artists this month at the Arts Club of Washington with her exhibition “Artist & Mentors – Woodcuts, Etchings, and Sculpture.”  This exhibition focuses on work Ms. Parker has created under the influence of her artistic “mentors,” Käthe Kollwitz and Rembrandt.

"Self Portrait at Work" by Margaret Adams Parker, Woodcut, 2003

Ms. Parker’s work is most often figurative in nature and has religious and social justice themes, though she approaches landscapes and still lifes with the same technical skill and thoughtfulness of her figurative work.  From figures in the Bible to people on the metro, from sweeping landscapes of Wales to quiet studies of shells, her prints and sculpture reflect her careful attention to both the physical and ideological the world around her.

This exhibition runs May 4-28, with an opening reception Friday, May 6, 6:30-9 pm.  Bonus–if you visit you can see two other exhibiting artists, Joan Root and Cynthia Bickley-Green, in the other Arts Club of Washington Galleries.

Artist Q&A: Margaret Adams Parker

Next week is the opening for the two-person show, Two Artists, Many Journeys featuring the work of Margaret Adams Parker and Carole Nelson. An earlier post a few months ago introduced some of Parker’s sketches, and we are happy to share more on this wonderful artist. Read on to learn more!

Ancient Hawthorne by Margaret Adams Parker, Etching, 2010

WPG: Lately we’ve seen mostly woodcuts from you.  What made you want to switch back to etchings for this body of work?

MAP: I began my graduate studies in an etching class and my first prints were etchings and monotypes. Q5 years ago I made my first woodcut and fell in love with the directness of the process, the raw power of the results, and during those years I made very few etchings. But I’ve wanted to return to the medium for a long time, and this body of work – including many images drawn from life – seemed better suited to the greater range of tone and mark characteristic of etching. I’m pleased with the resulting prints and also with what I have learned from intense focus on the etching medium. I’m looking forward to continuing the exploration once this show is “put to bed.”

"Out Through the Arches" by Margaret Adams Parker, Etching, 2010

WPG: You recently returned from a teaching trip from Italy.  Many artists return talking about the special light quality or the wonderful architecture, both of which can be seen in this show.  What would you say was the single most inspiring aspect of your trip to Italy and why?

MAP: There is a famous saying about the brevity of life compared with the enduring nature of art:  Vita brevis est, ars longa.  I certainly feel that when travelling in Italy, and a kind of panic seized me when I realized I just couldn’t SEE all of the art I had come so far to look at.   So I made a conscious decision to look most closely at sculpture, concentrating on works that I’ve taught but never seen: by Michelangelo, Donatello, and Giovanni Pisano.  I was also able to study the sculptures on the façade of the Duomo in Orvieto (where I taught sculpture for four weeks.)  What powerful and moving works; many of them recorded in sketches which I hope to recreate in a portfolio of etchings.

"Eucalyptus Pods - From Carole's Garden" by Margaret Adams Parker, Etching, 2010WPG: I heard you were perfecting prints up until the month before the show!  Is there more in this body of work we can expect from you, or is there something new you are going to start working on now?  Could you give us a quick description of it?

MAP: As I write this I am still working on the final etchings for the show: There is a sense in which I have merely stopped in the middle of this body of work – in order to prepare for the exhibition – and I hope to pick up where I have left off early next year. So each of the “portfolios” in the show will continue to grow.

Intern Perspectives: Lee Newman

Fawna Xiao is WPG’s fall intern, currently studying fine art at University of Maryland College Park.  Below is her reaction to the artwork of Lee Newman, the solo artist of this month’s exhibition, Glimpse.
At first glance, Lee Newman’s prints appear to be charcoal drawings. They retain a raw expressiveness that is difficult to recreate in printmaking; the emotions are quite fresh on each print. 

"Homeless" by Lee Newman

The subject matter in this series is simple and focused. It’s clear what he’s focusing on– the shadows of a man’s face, the volume of a cow, the difference a vase of flowers brings to a dark space. Newman is pointing to certain parts of each subject, and at the same time he shrouds other parts of it in a quiet mystery– much like dusk does to things. There is nothing terribly extraordinary that he is showing us, but it is how he is showing us that is impressive. The sleeping (or so we hope) body of a homeless man is translated into a cluster of fantastic lines create lovely shapes and forms. The top is spinning fast enough for the background to be a few rough lines, but we notice that it’s about to fall at the angle it’s spinning. Although we can sense that the subjects are mobile, Newman has managed to capture them in a still moment. Time has frozen.

"Little Eats" by Lee Newman

The figures in his work have an eerie quality about them. None of the characters seem to be paying any attention to the viewer, but rather, totally wrapped up in their own minds. Even the ones directly facing the viewer seem to be looking slightly behind us. None of them are clear enough for us to recognize, putting us in the same sort of haze that the subjects seem to be stuck in. These intriguing characters have a commanding presence that demands attention even though we can only decipher so much about them.

Newman is a talented printmaker with a knack for expressive translation. The work is beautifully simple and gently mesmerizing, and overall, something worth stopping to imagine with.

Artist Q&A: Brad Widness

Brad Widness is one of the artists featured in the New Faces, New Prints exhibition, and has been mentioned in this blog before.  Read on to find out a little about Brad’s process and prints:

"Line, Rope, Ladder-Alone" by Brad Widness, on view in October's exhibition

1. You say that your work is “interior landscape of memory and imagination juxtaposed against the physical spaces in which we move and act.”  Where do your prints normally start—with a memory or imagination, or the physical space?  What draws you to that starting imagery?

My prints begin with the ordinary things in my immediate surroundings, in the space I normally find myself in. This could include a visual suggestion from something I read, photographs in newspapers or magazines or even the internet, but most often it comes from the physical space and objects I live with. A scrap, a space intriguingly offset by light and shadow, an object that with extremely mundane properties can become mysterious. It is the eternal present wherever I find myself that is my inspiration. Everything has the potential to be seen as extraordinary, and most particularly the things one sees every day. As the image is drawn, carved, etched, colored, and effaced it takes on a life of its own, separate from the environment that gave the initial inspiration. The etched and manipulated plate and print matrix begin to tell a different tale, one more mysterious and enigmatic, beginning to express a deeper memory, imagination and content. Images that are hard to find, elements found by mistake like those encountered in a dreamlike state are a part of one’s deepest self and identity. I seek to create images that contain a sense of things past and experience of the present moment together.

"Behind the Wall-Becoming" by Brad Widness - on view in October's exhibition

2.  You have worked with and taught Digital Media and Design, but continue to rely on very traditional printmaking techniques.  Have the two methods influenced each other at all?  If so, how, and if not, what keeps them separate for you?

Although it is not immediately obvious, working and teaching in digital images has impacted my printmaking a great deal. It has made me more aware of how images are framed, how the context of an image changes the way it is perceived, and especially how dramatically different the sense of space and time is in a visual image compared to actual physical space and time. The use of photographs in my work as a result of new technologies has helped me express more convincingly the incredible flat and transitory nature of anything we receive from the digital world. Working with digital tools has increased, as well my sensibility of how critical it is to create imagery using more traditional / physical and direct printmaking means – along with being keenly aware of the unique perception of reality and space that is of the digital age – our age and era. The physical, visceral process of making images with actual depth and texture is more important to me than ever

"Light Studio" by Brad Widness, on view in the October exhibition

3. Your prints have a wonderful depth to them, and in many you use multiple techniques such as polymer plates, chine colle, and traditional etching.  Can you describe your process as you develop a plate?

Unplanned or surprising juxtapositions of things that I see or experience in the world are usually the starting place for my work. I begin with sketchbook studies to experiment with how I can translate these thoughts and feelings into a visual matrix. The sketches are sometimes transferred to a plate directly, other times they become the inspiration for direct carving or etching onto the plate. I have also been using more photographs as a way of starting to work an image. I often layer two or more images on top of each other to see what the effect will be, then work with subtractive methods like scraping or stenciling out areas. I deliberately seek out unplanned combinations and surprises in order to arrive at a solution I could not have foreseen from the start of my original idea.