Printmakers use an array of intricate techniques, many with ancient roots. Artists exhibiting in the Arts Barn’s “Art of the Print” gathered for a reception March 1 to discuss and share their work. Visitors saw intaglio, where lines of the image are cut into a metal plate and ink is applied into the cuts and printed; lithography that uses grease and water on a flat surface where blank areas, which hold moisture, make a print as they repel lithographic ink; collagraph, a collage of materials and textures glued onto a printing plate, then varnished, painted and pressed onto a surface to produce a print; and more. Traditional and contemporary styles of printing were on display.
Keep in mind that each successive print produced is not considered a “copy” but rather an “original” due to the slight variation with each impression. A succession of these prints is termed an edition.
Arts Barn guest curator and accomplished local artist Susan Due Pearcy treated me and my fellow visitors to a striking collection. Pearcy stressed the variety of techniques and media used by each artist and the enormous talent of her printmaking colleagues. Pieces depicting mythological and animal figures by Frederick sculptor Homer Yost were also featured; I found “Brigid Goddess of Healing” especially formidable.
Carol Moore’s earthy “Winter’s Gold” greets as you stare ahead and enter the gallery. It is a stunning intaglio, reminiscent of Andrew Wyeth, done, Moore recounted, with 17 sculpted reusable plates and aluminum etching. “My inspiration was a hike up Sugarloaf Mountain where I saw an Eastern redbud tree that had not yet lost its leaves. There’s a print in that, I said—a beautiful gold. A lot of my prints are encounters with nature.” Her intriguing hawk in “Flight Plans” is a creative musing on how our bird friends travel. Moore is excited to have an upcoming fellowship at Touchstone Gallery in DC, noting that she “started out locally and one thing led to another. Art is personal and for your soul.”
I was very drawn to two digital prints by Alison Spain, who modestly revealed, “I started digital drawing when I became a mom and I’m not really a printmaker.” Her maternally inspired “Mama (Marcia)” is an abstraction of a cochlear shell digitally manipulated and enhanced with multiple overlapping layers: Do you see a whirlpool, eyes, a staircase, breasts, an iridescent shell?
Annette Fortt’s collagraph, “Mother of the Bride,” is a delicate wonder. “I love the possibility of texture and dimensionality,” Fortt said. “Printmakers are fascinated with light and shadow.” She took inspiration from photographs in the book “Black in America” and created an amalgam of an image we have all seen.
Lovely young Meaghan Busch’s “Watching” features a colorful collection of rabbit’s feet printed from carvings into plastic blocks. Busch emphasizes personal childhood memories and relationships in her work. “My doodles evolved into sketches and relief cuts, collage and shaping carved blocks,” she explained. Busch has worked extensively with fellow exhibitor and mentor Susan Goldman and revealed that she “learned so much putting up other people’s work that it changed mine.” It was refreshing to see and hear developing artistic ideas ensuring a continuity of the medium.
The moon always calls to me, so I ventured over to Linda Slattery Sherman’s gelatin print, “Super Moon.” Gelatin printing is a technique I’ve done myself, so I was intrigued that it was so well represented here with two of Sherman’s striking, rusty-toned works. “I do a lot of backgrounds,” she said, “with paint and homemade foam stamps. It is very addicting.”
This is an exhibit well worth your attention with its accessible themes, earthy colors and natural beauty. “Art of the Print” is on exhibit through April 2, 2018. The Arts Barn is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.