Tag Archives: Katherine Blood

From our Newsletter: Fresh Voices, Time-Honored Traditions

The following was written by Katherine Blood, Curator of Fine Prints for the Library of Congress and the juror for our first Excellence in Printmaking Exhibition held last month. Here’s a look back at the exhibition and its winners. For those who saw the exhibition or for those who missed it, Katherine helps us gain a new appreciation for the next generation of printmakers. Be sure to mark your calendars for next year’s Excellence in Printmaking exhibition, to be held in February.

The history of printmaking can be seen as being both marvelously elastic and remarkably constant. It has absorbed revolutions from lithography (which sparked early debates about fine art v. commercial reproduction) to digital printmaking, while preserving traditional techniques in which artists find seemingly endless scope for innovation. As a core part of its vision, the Washington Printmakers Gallery encourages the use of traditional, non-digital printmaking techniques including etching, engraving, woodcut, lithography, and screenprint. The 2011 Excellence in Printmaking exhibit features student printmakers exploring such techniques in fresh, interesting ways. What follows is my personal response to selected works, drawing on what the artists themselves had to say.

"Girl With Bottle" by Hallie Edlund

Hallie Edlund, a student at Towson University in Maryland and previously the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C., brings old school rigor to her lithographs. An accomplished draftswoman, she combines realism and optical distortions in two black-and-white portraits of women seen respectively through a glass vessel (Girl with Bottle) and reflected in a mottled surface (Girl with Mirror). A third, more whimsical portrait in color (Bird Beehive) shows a young woman with a tall beehive hairdo topped by a nest and raven-like bird, attributes that conjure associations of 1960s Baltimore and 18th-century France!

"Face First (Pink)" by Samantha Hanson

Maryland Institute College of Art sophomore Samantha Hanson printed her black-and-white linocut, Face First (Pink), on fabric. She recalls: “I was struck with the image of looking in a mirror, but having the mirror cut off right below the eyes. Of trying to look at oneself, but not being able to make eye contact.” The resulting cameo-shaped portrait of a woman’s face, beginning just below the eyes, is intriguing and slightly unsettling. The artist added a touch of color by embroidering the lips pink, invoking the act’s historical associations with women’s domesticity as well as the kind of painstaking care required for
printmaking. Hanson is majoring in printmaking with a minor in gender studies.

"I Was Here" by Anna Wagner

Anna Wagner, who is now pursuing her master’s in printmaking at Ohio University in Athens and was formerly at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, submitted two intaglio copper plate prints including I Was Here. In it, she combines softground and hardground etching, aquatint, engraving, and roulette work to convey the chiaroscuro textures of a decaying, sun-shot building interior. Her technical languages join forces with the composition which places the viewer inside this transitory space.

"Never Again, Rodney, Never" by Eric Owusu

Eric Owusu is currently studying Studio Art and English Literature at the University of Maryland. His two narrative drypoint/etchings invite engagement and multiple, possible readings – a conscious choice by the artist. The small-scale Never Again, Rodney, Never depicts Owasu in a Washington Nationals baseball cap, sitting handcuffed to a “puzzled” clown. Both look ahead and slightly away from each other. Owasu adds further visual clues to the story but leaves each viewer to build their own conclusions. Conflict presents an intense moment between a man and woman, heightened by the surreal flavor of the room behind them – a different kind of decaying space. Their stylized physicality and expressions may call to mind Japanese Ukiyo-e prints showing actors at a point of dramatic climax.

"Intimacy" by Teddie Rappaport

Washington area commuters will instantly recognize the scene in Elizabeth T. (Teddie) Rappaport’s color mezzotint called Intimacy. One of the pleasures of this work comes with experiencing the contemporary, vernacular design of a D.C. metro train interior through the lush, velvety “burr” of mezzotint. This technique, which flourished in the 18th century, involves first pricking and roughening the surface of a metal plate before burnishing back the lighter shades of the image. Rappaport’s jewel-like mezzotint involved the layering of four copper plates. She is an undergraduate student in Psychology at the University of Maryland who plans to pursue graduate studies in Art Therapy.

"Cut Short" by Tonja Torgerson

Continuing the “something old, something new” theme, Tonja Torgerson’s aesthetic combines tradition and currency while exploring a serious topic. Of her color serigraphs, she writes: “I have used portraits to deal with the reality of illness while balancing a thin line between expression and discretion. These prints explore the altering of identity that occurs when diagnosed with a permanent illness.” Torgerson also deliberately uses such elements as color and humor to keep her works welcoming. Her woman’s portrait blends Art Nouveau, Psychedelia, and clean, contemporary design features. So Bad shows a somber, weary-eyed woman contained in echoing wreaths – an Elizabethan-esque collar of hypodermic needles and her own coiling hair, all inside a leafy frame. Torgerson previously studied Studio Arts and Art History at the University of Minnesota and is pursuing her MFA in Printmaking at Syracuse University.

"Rough" by Fawna Xiao

Fawna Xiao‘s screenprint Rough, one of the relatively few abstract works in the show, roils with vitality. Its surface layers read like strata with web-like passages above chunkier architectural forms and smoky wisps. After teaching herself how to screenprint in her parents’ basement using Google Search instructions, she began printing without a press, using wedding veils as screens. As her methods and materials became more sophisticated, she chose to retain in her work something of the “same rough aesthetic and attitude.” Xiao is a University of Maryland student, majoring in Studio Art with a concentration in Printmaking.

Among the many other not-to-be-missed prints in the exhibit are Manuel Paucar’s Asylum screenprint, July, Summer Weekend by Leah Curtis, Ian Jackson’s drypoint and engraving entitled Prairie Sharks, Sarika Sugla’s System I lithographic monoprints, and an array of woodcuts such as Catherine Cole’s Kate, Deb Napple’s Beaver Road, Barry O’Keefe’s Self Portrait, and William
Bruce Niebauer’s untitled woodblock/inkjet print. This gathering of work by student printmakers provides a compelling look at current and forthcoming energy in the field. Further, it represents  conveyed strength from their artist/professor teachers including John Carr at Montgomery College, Margo Humphrey and Justin Strom at the University of Maryland, Trudi Ludwig at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Tonia Matthews at Towson University, Jenny Schmid at the University of Minnesota, and Art Werger at Ohio University, to name a few.

Many thanks are due to the Washington Printmakers Gallery, the Washington Print Club, the Washington Print Foundation, and others who worked to bring us the Excellence in Printmaking exhibit including Gallery Director Annie Turner, Peggy Parker, Jenny Freestone, Kathleen Kuster and the participating artists.

And thanks to Katherine Blood for being our first Excellence in Printmaking Juror!

Pics, write-up, and results from Saturday’s Juror’s Talk

Director Annie Turner and Juror Katherine Blood

Sorry all–this was supposed to go up on Wednesday but didn’t make it out of the draft stage!  Read the write-up on last weekend’s event by Max-Karl Winkler and see our Excellence in Printmaking results, below.

Members and friends of Washington Printmakers Gallery—and participating artists and their friends and supporters—made a cheerful crowd at the reception inaugurating the Excellence in Printmaking 2011 Exhibition. Thanks to Annie Turner’s skill and perseverance, the show has turned into an event that has invited student printmakers from the entire mid-Atlantic region. The result is a large, varied, exciting show.


Honorable mention winner Eric Owusu discusses his prints with Katherine Blood

Look at that turn-out!

The highlight of the reception was the gallery talk by the juror, Katherine Blood. Katherine is the Curator of Fine Prints in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress, and her talk was perhaps the finest gallery talk I’ve experienced. She spoke informatively about the particular techniques of chosen works, she explained her choices of the award-winning pieces, and—most supportively—she called upon individual artists to talk about their prints. And still her talk was neither long nor tiresome.

WPG members Max-Karl Winkler (left) and Lee Newman (right) take in the show

We are much in debt to Annie for expanding and improving this show.

Max-Karl Winkler

Thank you Max-Karl!  For all who couldn’t make it to the show, the winners are:

Hallie Edlund-First prize

Samantha Hanson, 2nd Prize

Anna Wagner, 3rd Prize

Eric Owusu, Elizabeth “Teddie” Rappaport, Tonja Torgersen, and Fawna Xiao-honorable mentions.

Thanks to all students who entered, we had some really amazing work to kick off our first Excellence in Printmaking exhibition.  Please check back this fall for our 2012 call for entries!

Show Pics: Excellence in Printmaking

Here they are: show pics for Excellence in Printmaking!  Be sure to come to the gallery tomorrow, 1-4 pm, for our Opening Reception and Award Announcements and support this talented new generation of printmakers.  Juror Katherine Blood will be on-hand to help present these awards.  There are many beautiful prints (framed!) under $100 — hooray for student work!

Post-Snow Update

Marcus Aurelius III, Wood Engraving by Simon Brett, on view through tomorrow!

We’re back and fully functioning!  A sincere apology to all who tried to get in contact with us–it’s been quite a week!  First, our website host company was migrating data, which meant our email/website were intermittently effected.  Second, the winter storm knocked out power in the area.  While the gallery’s power was restored quickly, the power to Comcast’s main transmission site for Montgomery County was not–meaning we were without phone or internet for a few days.

But now our sidewalks are clear and the gallery is open–and just in time, too.  If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t miss Bewick’s Legacy: Six Contemporary British Wood Engravers. We have sold a staggering 32 prints from this show as well as some of the beautiful wood engraving books we have on view exclusively in the gallery.  We are open until 5 pm today and 12-5 tomorrow, so hurry in!

"The Pearl Necklace," wood engraving by Harry Brockway

Starting Wednesday, our first ever Excellence in Printmaking exhibition will be up.  Originally, this was an award given to an area MFA/BFA candidate for their commitment to printmaking.  This year, Katherine Blood, Curator of Fine Prints at the Library of Congress, juried prints from MFA/BFA candidates in the mid-Atlantic region, selecting 40 to be included in this exhibition.  There are some talented students out there!  And as I mentioned in my post on UMD’s “Impressed” exhibition, it is a great opportunity to buy a print by a future big-time artist.  Get them while they’re young and affordable!  The opening reception and awards ceremony for this show is Saturday, February 5, 1-4 pm.  Below are a few prints to whet your appetite:

"Rough" by Fawna Xiao, screenprint and ink drawing, 12x22 in, 2009

"Never Again, Rodney, Never" by Eric Owusu, Intaglio,11x14, 2009.

"So Bad" by Tonja Torgerson, serigraph, 22x20 in, 2009.

Call for Entries

Something productive for your holiday weekend:

Excellence in Printmaking–we’ve mentioned this exhibition before, but now it’s open to students attending school from the greater mid-Atlantic region (specifically Delaware, DC, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia).  Back-story for those who didn’t catch it the first time:  Excellence in Printmaking is an award WPG has been giving out with the Washington Print Club for a few years now.  This year is the first time we are turning it into a full-blown, juried exhibition.  We are privileged to have Katherine Blood, Curator of Fine Prints for the Library of Congress, as our juror.  Prizes are still awarded, and first prize has a $500 cash component.  Any student attending a BFA or MFA in the above states who has had at least two printmaking courses is eligible to apply.  Click the link above for the full prospectus.  Deadline December 31 (you can apply online),  so hurry!

The Print Center: 85th Annual International Printmaking Exhibition
–open to ANY artist whose work includes printmaking as a critical component.  This year’s jurors are Emi Eu, Director, Singapore Tyler Print Institute, Singapore
Sarah Suzuki, The Sue and Eugene Mercy, Jr., Assistant Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books, Museum of Modern Art, New York.  $3000 in prizes AND a solo exhibition at The Print Center are up for grabs.  Apply online by December 15, click the link above for the prospectus.

Good Luck!

For creative people

Several Calls for Entries and even a few JOB postings WPG wishes to share with you:

1. Excellence in Printmaking Call for Entries–For the past five years WPG has paired with the Washington Print Foundation and Washington Print Club to present the annual Excellence in Printmaking Award to a local fine arts BFA or MFA candidate.  This February, we are expanding that award into an exhibition, juried this year by Katherine Blood, Curator of Fine Prints for the Library of Congress.  Fine art majors from the DC/Baltimore/Richmond area are encouraged to apply–$500 cash award to first place, other prizes awarded as well.  Details at the link above, deadline December 31.

2. WPA Coup d’Espace call for entries–Deadline extended to December 1! Washington Project for the Arts is inviting member artists (you can still sign up for membership–very cheap!) to “transform the WPA’s office headquarters into a dynamic space for thought provoking, art-minded events.” This is a great way to get an exhibit, poetry reading, artist talk, etc in the heart of DC.

3.VisArts at Rockville–VisArts, a multi-use art center in Rockville, MD has three job openings!  They are looking for an Audio Visual Tech, a Gallery and Events Coordinator, and a Facility Manager.  Email them at visarts@visartscenter.org for more information