Libraries & Spaces
20 Years of Prints for the Washington Print Club's 40th Anniversary
Saturday, September 18, 2004 · 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Admission free · refreshments provided
Saturday, November 13, 2004 · 10:30 a.m. - Noon
20 YEARS OF PRINTS FOR THE WASHINGTON PRINT CLUB'S 40TH ANNIVERSARY presents a retrospective of cover illustrations for The Washington Print Club Quarterly, for which the Georgetown University Fine Print Collection is the official repository. 20 YEARS OF PRINTS commemorates the twenty years that the Quarterly has been publishing original works by area artists on the cover, and also the fortieth anniversary of the founding of the Washington Print Club.
Since 1964, the Washington Print Club has been offering its members - collectors, artists, dealers, educators, curators, and others interested in original prints - all manner of special programs to learn about works on paper, from Old Master to contemporary prints, as well as illustrated books, watercolors, and photographs.
20 YEARS OF PRINTS includes thirty-one works in a variety of graphic media by such distinguished artists as Lila Oliver Asher, David Chung, Pepe Coronado, Rosemary Feit Covey, Georgia Deal, Aline Feldman, Leslie Garcia, Sam Gilliam, Susan Goldman, Un'ichi Hiratsuka, Jacob Kainen, Lindsay Harper Makepeace, Percy Martin, Nancy McIntyre, Tom Nakashima, Lee Newman, Martha Oatway, Naul Ojeda, Katja Oxman, Terry Parmelee, Elizabeth Peak, Susan Due Pearcy, Michael Platt, Charles Ritchie, Bernard Shleien, Kathleen Spagnolo, Lou Stovall, Martha Tabor, Prentiss Taylor, Lynd Ward, John Wood, and Ann Zahn.
In celebration of the fortieth anniversary of The Washington Print Club, Georgetown University Library is proud to display this twenty-year retrospective of fine prints by Washington-area artists published on the covers of The Washington Print Club Quarterly. A non-profit membership organization of artists, collectors, professionals, and print enthusiasts, The Washington Print Club was established in 1964 to "bring collectors together and provide opportunities for learning more about the field through exhibitions, demonstrations and lectures."1 Seeking an "earnest personal involvement with art and artists"2 and inspired by earlier clubs, such as the then fifty-year-old Print Club of Philadelphia, a handful of young Washingtonians had the vision, energy, and enthusiasm to establish a dynamic new forum for the study and appreciation of fine prints and other works on paper.
Although not affiliated with an art museum, as are some print clubs in other cities, the WPC has always been guided by a distinguished group of advisors including, at its founding, Jacob Kainen, a New York artist who became Curator of Graphic Arts at the Smithsonian; Alan Fern, then Curator of Prints and Photographs at the Library of Congress; Adelyn Breeskin of the National Collection of Fine Arts (NCFA - now the Smithsonian American Art Museum); and Victor Carlson of the Baltimore Museum of Art. The roster of advisors has changed over the years, and these prominent members of the local art community have played an important role in the success of the club, helping to facilitate its programs and ensure its continuity.
Perhaps because of its institutional autonomy, the WPC was able to pursue its own creative agenda, commissioning posters and prints from emerging local artists, arranging printmaking demonstrations and symposia, sponsoring tours of public and private collections, and mounting regular exhibitions. Its first exhibition, in 1965, was held in the gallery of Washington's 16th Street Jewish Community Center, directed by Jo Ann Lewis (now an arts writer for The Washington Post); and a poster commemorating the exhibition was commissioned from George O'Connell, then on the faculty of the University of Maryland.
Among the club's memorable past undertakings were a series of biennial "High School Graphics" exhibitions, begun in 1969 and co-sponsored by the NCFA's educational outreach program, known as "Discover Graphics." These exhibitions, designed to foster printmaking in the D.C. high schools and stimulate interest in the graphic arts among the city's youth, awarded prizes to the most promising students. Some of those judging the exhibitions, such as Sam Gilliam and Percy Martin, are featured in our current exhibition.
To celebrate its twentieth anniversary, the WPC began reproducing original prints by local artists on the cover of its quarterly publication, at first only twice a year, but now a feature of each Quarterly issue. The guidelines for selecting Quarterly cover artists emphasize the importance of hand-pulled prints (i.e., prints created from an original matrix, such as an etching plate, lithographic stone or carved wood block). The selected artist should have a strong body of work in this medium, or have printmaking as a primary (though not necessarily the only) medium. Once selected for the Quarterly, the artist provides a statement about his or her work, and an informative article on the artist is included in each issue. Up until last year, this entire editorial and selection process was carried out by artist Terry Parmelee, whose woodcut, Formalities, graced the front and back cover of the first illustrated issue in the fall of 1984.
We are fortunate to have several master printmakers represented among the first decade of Quarterly covers, including Un'ichi Hiratsuka, Jacob Kainen, Lynd Ward, and Prentiss Taylor. Artists and printmakers such as these made a significant contribution in establishing Washington as an active and vibrant fine arts community in the late twentieth century and in inspiring - as teachers and mentors - a new generation of printmakers, several of whom appear in this exhibition. Ranging in subject and style from autobiographical content and whimsy to abstraction, the prints exhibited here demonstrate their artists’ commitment to the graphic arts, as well as the technical mastery required to achieve such vivid and striking personal expressions.
In the 1990s, the print club transferred its cover art prints to the Georgetown University Library's Special Collections Division under the supervision of Joseph A. Haller, S.J., one of the club's advisors and, as Curator of Prints, architect of Georgetown's extensive collection of twentieth-century American prints. The collection of WPC cover prints was acquired through the generosity of the artists, either as outright gifts or for a fraction of the retail price, thus making it possible to assemble an impressive array of extraordinary works produced in and around Washington during the last two decades.
- Mary Hewes, founding member and former WPC President, quoted in The Sunday Star (Washington, D.C.: March 14, 1965), p. E12.
- Tim Bornstein, "Founding Father Reminisces," in Washington Print Club Newsletter (November-December 1974), p. 1.
Sara Stone, "Washington Print Club 40th Anniversary Show," Journal of the Print World (Summer 2004), Vol. 27, No. 3, p. 30.
Checklist of the Exhibition
Terry Parmelee studied printmaking in Tokyo in 1957, and in Paris with American woodcut artist Carol Summers. One of Washington's most respected artists, she recently published a Catalogue Raisonné of her entire repertoire of prints since 1966. Parmelee is also known for her colorful, abstract acrylic paintings initially influenced by the Washington Color School painters of the 1960s. Her favorite woodcut artists, Un'ichi Hiratsuka and Shiko Munakata, inspired this print, commissioned by the Washington Print Club for its first illustrated Quarterly cover in 1984.
With its Autumn 1985 issue, The Washington Print Club Quarterly celebrated the ninetieth birthday of the distinguished Japanese woodcut artist Un'ichi Hiratsuka, who had lived in Washington since 1962, where he inspired and taught a generation of younger printmakers, including several artists in this exhibition. In addition to the distinctions mentioned in his Washington Post obituary (exhibited here), Hiratsuka was recently honored in the exhibition Hiratsuka: Modern Master, at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2001, and featured in the exhibition of Japanese Ukiyo-e art at the Library of Congress the same year. His personal statement about this lovely woodcut view from Key Bridge follows:
"Georgetown University in fresh, green color inspired this print. The symbolic focus of Georgetown [D.C.] is the beautiful view of Georgetown University. Furthermore, Georgetown is the focal point of Washington, and Washington, of the world! The university building can be viewed from all directions and contains the harmony of nature and architectural beauty which makes you feel its gracefulness and of being hand-in-hand with nature. To me it makes a perfect composition. ... The clock tower in the sky looks like a tower of elephant tusk! I don't think I'll find a similar sight in any other place in the world."
The life and career of prolific American illustrator and wood engraver Lynd Ward was celebrated with a series of articles in the Spring 1986 issue of The Washington Print Club Newsletter. Through a generous gift of the artist's widow, children's book author May McNeer Ward, and his daughters, Georgetown University Library received a collection of 250 prints, drawings, and sketches; an extensive manuscript archive; and some 600 volumes from Ward's personal library. Included in this gift was Hymn for the Night, an unpublished series of wood engravings. In Ward's favored genre of picture narrative, the nativity story unfolds against the backdrop of a devastated, post-World War II Europe.
Lila Asher, a graduate of the Philadelphia College of Art, is professor emeritus of fine art at Howard University, where she began teaching in 1947. Her early years as an artist during World War II saw her working as a volunteer for U.S.O. camp shows. Most of her work is based on the human figure. When asked to make an artist's statement for the Quarterly, she wished to have quoted the following comment about her work by Michael Brenson in The New York Times (January 13, 1985):
"...it is only the image of the human figure that can seem to concentrate within it all of the human and artistic history. ...Furthermore, in an increasingly international world, only the human figure can cut through all nations and cultures and reflect our sense of the world as a global village."
The following statement accompanied Lindsay Makepeace's etching on the cover of the Winter 1989 issue of the Quarterly:
"Since 1976 I have studied a specific stretch of Rock Creek Park after every snowfall. With the white background the varied shapes of the trees become very visible. I am interested in the compositions and sculptural forms that are revealed after the leaves have gone and the snow has fallen. ...I look at the trees as if I thought I were the choreographer looking for the perfect dancer. The trees are my dancers, but like human beings some are better at it than others."The following statement accompanied Lindsay Makepeace's etching on the cover of the Winter 1989 issue of the Quarterly:
"Since 1976 I have studied a specific stretch of Rock Creek Park after every snowfall. With the white background the varied shapes of the trees become very visible. I am interested in the compositions and sculptural forms that are revealed after the leaves have gone and the snow has fallen. ...I look at the trees as if I thought I were the choreographer looking for the perfect dancer. The trees are my dancers, but like human beings some are better at it than others."
Leslie Garcia studied under Jack Perlmutter at the Corcoran School of Art and Jim Forbes at the University of Maryland, and has worked with her sister creating illustrations for children's books. Her whimsical aerial view of Washington, D.C. is an interesting contrast to Aline Feldman's color woodcut, Paradox of Place.
Percy Martin was a scholarship student of graphic arts and advertising design at the Corcoran School of Art in the 1960s. He has had a successful career teaching at various institutions and exhibiting regularly at select D.C. galleries. As explained in the Autumn 1989 issue of the Quarterly, Martin "uses a personal mythology to express his feelings and ideas about the nature of contemporary life. He seems to draw on a collective unconscious, or on racial memories of the way his African ancestors might have lived in ages past. ... The medium of etching lends a somber tone which enhances the feeling of dream imagery."
David Chung, whose parents emigrated here from Korea, is a native Washingtonian with a degree from the Corcoran College of Art and Design. He often carries a sketchbook for recording material which he later incorporates into his prints. This image is based on his observation of a child's reaction to having spilled something in the checkout line at the supermarket.
The renowned Washington artist, curator, teacher, and collector Jacob Kainen was featured in a solo exhibition in the Fairchild Gallery in 2003, which overlapped with an exhibition of his print collection at the National Gallery of Art. Up until his death in March 2001, Kainen was an active member of The Washington Print Club's board of professional advisors. This woodblock print was commissioned specifically for the cover of The Washington Print Club Quarterly. Kainen also produced a collectors' edition of ten of these prints without lettering.
Seattle-born Tom Nakashima is an internationally established painter/printmaker who earned his M.F.A. from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. He has taught at Columbus College of Art and Design and Catholic University in Washington D.C., and exhibited in Japan, New York, and at Washington D.C.'s Anton Gallery, where he has been represented since 1985. Mr. Nakashima was recently appointed the William S. Morris Eminent Scholar of Art at Augusta State University in Georgia. Nakashima had created a series of paintings on Homer's mythical Cyclops before producing this engraving. Its subject is based on "the legendary one-eyed boy often pictured in Zen paintings, sweeping out the temple. According to the story, this mutant, or perhaps god, was often approached from the rear by children intent on teasing him... but when Hitotsumekozo swung around and cast his singular eye on them—they of course fled in terror."
In Spirita/Spiritum, Susan Due Pearcy was inspired by the gilded icons she saw during a trip to the Soviet Union in 1986, and the empty frames once filled with holy images that had been destroyed under the rule of Communism. Pearcy received grants from the Maryland State Arts Council to finance the gold leaf and viscosity rollers she needed for a series called the "Icon Frame Series." Spirita/Spiritum, an etching and aquatint, marked a transition in this series. As she explained in the Quarterly, "My prints moved from being faceless heads with ornate frames to images with a personality and definition - the void became personified.... The prints evolved to address my own concerns for women and our lost history/image."
One of Prentiss Taylor's most admired and widely reproduced lithographs, The Bridge Sunday depicts the Brooklyn Bridge "as seen from the warehouses, or 'go-downs' on the Manhattan side" (as explained in the Catalogue Raisonné by Ingrid Rose and Roderick S. Quiroz, 1996, cat. #82). The Winter 1991-92 issue of the Quarterly included a trio of articles memorializing the great Washington printmaker. As one of its early advisors, Taylor played an important role in the development of The Washington Print Club, which ultimately succeeded The Society of Washington Printmakers, which he had nurtured and promoted for thirty-four years as its president. Two other lithographs by Taylor, Myself as Mezzetin (1936), and After the Picnic (1952), were featured on the front and back cover of the Spring 1985 Washington Print Club Newsletter.
This whimsical print by woodcut master Naul Ojeda was selected from the Prints: Washington exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1992. As reported in the accompanying Washington Post article, the Uruguayan-born artist had lived in Washington since 1974 and was represented by the city's first and foremost contemporary print dealer, Franz Bader, who died in 1994.
Arts reporter Joanna Shaw-Eagle described Maryland artist Ann Zahn as "one of the area's most talented, experienced and expressive printmakers," in her Washington Times review this past August. Zahn received her M.F.A. from the American University and studied printmaking at Montgomery College in Rockville. Since 1977 she has operated the Printmakers Workshop in her Bethesda studio, for the use of area printmakers.
In more than thirty years, Zahn has focused on two extensive series of prints: 100 Views of Home, and, from 1988 to the present, Garden Journal. In both series, employing a variety of print media, Zahn always worked directly on the plate, block, or stone. Her work addresses the passage of time and the "physical" presence of space. This intaglio from her series Garden Journal IIIA chronicles daily events and experiences from January 1 to April 18, 1989.
Georgia Deal has worked for more than two decades in the D.C. area, creating prints, handmade paper works and mixed media installations. She is the head of printmaking at the Corcoran College of Art and Design and has exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In creating Blessing, Deal used two colors of paper pulp. White highlights were added to the basic gray using a template, and it took about a week for the paper to dry thoroughly. The two vases or jars are a metaphor for the spirit, the self, or the soul and were inspired by her study of Renaissance art during a visit to Italy.
This unique print, consisting of stitched, acrylic-painted paper and computer prints, demonstrates Sam Gilliam's unconventional combinations of color, shape, and form in his dynamic, abstract vernacular. Widely acknowledged as Washington's pre-eminent artist, Gilliam first became known in the 1970s as one of the Washington Color School painters. He was born in Mississippi, where he received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in fine art and painting. Gilliam lives and works in Washington, D.C. and has taught in a number of public schools and universities in the area. He is an internationally recognized artist with numerous public and private commissions, including work for the Reagan National Airport.
Realist printmaker Nancy McIntyre was born in Connecticut and earned her fine arts degree at the Rhode Island School of Design. She has had numerous group and solo exhibitions in the area, including her recent Chair Series, 1971-2001 at the Jane Haslem Gallery near Dupont Circle. Of her screenprint Front Porches, a view from Lewes, Delaware, the artist explained, "Porches and windows - the public edges of private lives - are longtime favorite subjects of mine." She typically pulls her own screenprints, sometimes taking 50 to 100 pulls "before I am happy with the balance of colors."
Michael Platt received his M.F.A at Howard University and has taught on the faculty of Northern Virginia Community College. During a cultural exchange trip to the Ukraine in 1995, he met the artist Natalia Mironenko, whose work involving the computer influenced him. Subsequently, Platt created this photographic-based image of his son using computer technology. He graciously served as a juror of Prints: Washington in 1997, an open, juried print exhibition of local artists sponsored by The Washington Print Club.
Aline Feldman studied with Werner Drewes in St. Louis and Un'ichi Hiratsuka in Washington. Based on her studies of Japanese printmaking techniques, and using the finest Japanese papers, she creates imaginary landscapes such as this dizzying urban view of towering skyscrapers. Paradox of Place was selected from The Washington Print Club's third Prints: Washington exhibition in 1997 for the first multi-color cover of the Quarterly.
Susan Goldman received her MFA in Printmaking from Arizona State University, Tempe, and her BFA in Printmaking from Indiana University. From 1991 through 2000 she was Special Projects Coordinator and Master Printer at Pyramid Atlantic, and the Center for Handpapermaking, Printmaking and the Art of the Book, in Riverdale, Maryland. She is on the printmaking faculty of the Corcoran College of Art and Design, and the Maryland Institute of Art in Baltimore.
Describing Two Vessels for the Quarterly, Goldman explained, "After the birth of my first child I became very intent on dealing with the theme of woman as a vessel. ... During the pregnancy of my second child I began introducing the image of the vase, urn, vessel. ... To be a mother is very consuming, offering little time for personal introspection and reflection. ...these recent images offer me a place to renew, rest, and breathe."
Katja Oxman, of German and Russian heritage, creates complex still-lifes within compressed spaces that subtly subvert realistic perspective. Trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Oxman went on to study in Europe (the Akademie der Bildenden Kunste in Munich and the Royal College of Arts in London) during the 1960s. The title of this color etching, In an Adjoining Room, is a quotation from a poem by Emily Dickinson, and the various references to works by other artists include a poster by Howard Hodgkin, postcard reproductions of paintings by Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning, and a detail of a painting by the Flemish baroque master Nicolas Van Verendael.
Martha Tabor's silkscreen, Dog Dreams, was part of the exhibition My Dog as Art: Prints, Photographs and Sculpture, at the Studio Gallery near Dupont Circle in 1991. These often humorous works revolved around her Labrador retriever, Maggie (but were not influenced by canine photographer William Wegman, according to Tabor). The career of Washington's late printmaker is outlined in the accompanying Washington Post obituary.
In an article reviewing Lou Stovall's exhibition at Howard University in 2001, The Washington Post hailed him as "Prince of Prints." Indeed, Stovall is one of the city's most admired and respected artists, not only for his meticulously executed, multi-color silkscreens, but also for his deep commitment to the Washington art community and his role as a trusted printer of other artists' work.
Stovall was born in Athens, Georgia and earned his degree from Howard University, where he was inspired by James Lesesne Welles. In the late 1960s, he founded Workshop, Inc., an open studio for artists which has evolved into a high-profile, professional printmaking facility. As master printmaker, Stovall has produced works for many noted artists including Josef Albers, Gene Davis, Sam Gilliam, and Jacob Lawrence. He is also actively involved in a host of non-profit arts institutions and has received numerous grants and special commissions. Mr. Stovall will have an exhibition at Strathmore Hall Arts Center in Bethesda from September 4 through November 6, 2004.
Virginia artist Elizabeth Peak has focused on landscape as her subject of choice. Peak works in traditional intaglio etching and monotype, and credits her confidence as a printmaker to her teachers Gabor Peterdi and Alan Shestack at Yale University. Peak prefers to draw directly from nature onto the etching plate, which results in a reversed image when printed onto paper. In this scene, the Episcopal Cathedral in Washington glimpsed from Memorial Bridge would in reality appear on the right instead of the left hand side of the picture as we see here. The etching was selected for the Quarterly cover from the Prints: Washington exhibition sponsored by the Washington Print Club in the summer of 2000.
Lee Newman received his fine arts degree from American University and established the Washington Studio School in 1984. Describing himself as a figurative painter and printmaker, Newman has said: "Printmaking, specifically etching, has allowed me to pursue a sustained graphic statement while retaining the informal qualities of a sketch." This portrait depicts a patient he observed at the Washington Hebrew Home for the Aged, suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Newman had accompanied a group of high school students on voluntary community service from Holton Arms School, where he teaches. The artist was so moved by this elderly woman that he obtained permission to return and make sketches of her that he later developed into a portfolio of etchings.
British-born artist Kathleen Spagnolo came to the United States with her American husband, whom she had met while working as an artist for the Royal Air Force during World War II. Spagnolo worked as a commercial illustrator in Alexandria before studying printmaking at American University under Robert Gates and Krishna Reddy. From Reddy she learned the technique of multilevel viscosity printing, which he had pioneered with the British artist Stanley William Hayter and others at the studio known as Atelier 17 in Paris. "With this medium, one can print the same plate in entirely different colors to give a very different effect... At the same time, no two prints done by this process are ever exactly alike," noted Terry Parmelee in the Quarterly. Georgetown University is fortunate to have a significant collection of Spagnolo's prints donated by the artist's nephew.
Charles Ritchie came to Washington, D.C. after completing his M.F.A. at Carnegie Mellon University in 1980, and now works as Associate Curator of Modern Prints and Drawings at the National Gallery of Art. For the past fourteen years Ritchie has been exploring the sites in and around his suburban home. He is dedicated to the landscape, "both visible and metaphorical," as he explains on his Web site, . The rich effects of the mezzotint technique create intense smoky depths from which an eerie glow emerges in this view of Ritchie's home. As Terry Parmelee wrote in the Quarterly, "Simplification of form, exaggeration of light or shadow, and subtle adjustment of shape contribute to a unique style that defies the description of 'realism'."
At the time this print was published on the Quarterly, Dominican-born Pepe Coronado explained that he was "exploring friction between reality and abstract forms, and between physical presence and illusion, from different perspectives, in order to capture moods and sentiments... I travel between the traditional printing process of serigraphy and digital art in creating work that embraces both methods." Coronado is a Master Printer at Pyramid Atlantic and the Hand Print Workshop and has taught digital art at the Corcoran College of Art and Design, and screen printing at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore.
Rosemary Covey, a resident of Alexandria, studied printmaking under Barry Moser and at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. Her work is inspired by print makers Fritz Eichenberg, Leonard Baskin, and Lynd Ward, and also "profoundly affected by artists in other media, especially the German Expressionists, such as Egon Schiele and Otto Dix," as she explained in the Quarterly. Covey's wood engravings have been published in several limited edition, fine press books such as Peking Street Peddlers (Bird & Bull Press, 1993).
Martha Oatway began working on monotypes more than a decade ago, a technique she skillfully developed following a printmaking workshop at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Norwalk, Connecticut, where she learned photocopy lithography. Trained in painting and photography, with a fine arts degree from the University of Maine at Portland-Gorham, Oatway moved to the Washington area in 2000. For the past couple of years she has been working on two related series of monoprints entitled Forest Series and Math Series which incorporate the technology of photocopy lithography with the traditional methods of collography, drypoint, etching, and woodcut. Math Series was inspired by an 1890 publication on hydrodynamics.
John Wood has had a distinguished career teaching printmaking and photography at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred, in upstate New York, for 34 years. Now living in Baltimore, Wood has exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Rhode Island School of Design, among other national and international venues. He is accomplished in all the major print media, and often combines techniques in unconventional ways. Wood typically assembles thematically-related images in portfolios or artist books. Inspired by his life-long fascination with birds, in 2001 he produced a hand-bound edition of six deluxe books entitled The Bird Book - Woodcuts by John Wood. This print is the image he created for the book's centerfold.
New York-born Bernard Shleien attended the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan, and while his career has been as a distinguished health physicist, he returned to his early love of art about ten years ago through study at the Maryland College of Art and Design. Shleien is inspired by the expressive emotional content of the German Expressionism, as well as by an awe of nature and his understanding of science.
Curator: LuLen Walker, Art Collection Coordinator
Graphics, Web Site, Research: David C. Alan, Art Technician