2004-02-27 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance
by Susan Hartenstein
From The Artists Studio Rockaway Artists Alliance by Susan Hartenstein

“Martian Spring,” Artist: Jami Taback. Medium: Monoprint with Hand Printed Collage. Part of Pressed And Pulled at sTudio 6, Fort Tilden.“Martian Spring,” Artist: Jami Taback. Medium: Monoprint with Hand Printed Collage. Part of Pressed And Pulled at sTudio 6, Fort Tilden.

85"The finest exhibition yet, mounted by the RAA." "Very impressive." "Museum quality." "The exhibits keep getting better and better." These are just some of the comments from those who have visited RAA’s present exhibition at Fort Tilden, sTudio 6 Gallery – Pressed And Pulled: A Juried Print making Exhibition." The 17 participating artists come from as far away as Colorado and Texas and as close as Breezy Point.

Pressed And Pulled is not just a feast for the eyes. It is a beautiful explora tion into the versatile and ever ex p an ding art of printmaking. Unobtrusive blurbs explaining the techniques used by the participating artists allow visitors full enjoyment of the works on display, while simplifying and providing insights into the spontaneity, experimentation and discipline of individual processes.

Perhaps the essence of the exhibition is best expressed by its juror Ellen Coleman. Coleman is a New York City printmaker and active member of the Lower East Side Print Shop. She has had several one-person shows in New York City and the metropolitan area and has participated in a number of group exhibitions whose venues in clude the NY Society of Etchers, the Rotunda Gallery and the Goethe Institut. Coleman also teaches printmaking. She writes the following about Pressed And Pulled:

Printmakers have a special place in my heart.A0 On one hand they need to be technically proficient, but on the other hand they always seem to be developing new methods for pulling prints.A0 In my mind, they are the premier innovators of the arts.A0There are a myriad of ways to make a print, and I think we are fortunate to be able to view so many different approaches un er one roof.

The works chosen represent a cross section of the realm of possibilities open to printmakers.A0In some cases, the images seem to arise out of the chosen technique while in others the images exist because of the technique.A0 Although there seemed to be a higher percentage of monoprints submitted, I think this speaks to the magic of printing.A0There simply is nothing like pull ing a sheet of paper off a plate, whether it be painted, etched, screen ed, cut or gummed.A0 I think it is in this transference from worked surface to pulled paper that allows the magic and innovation to occur.A0A printmaker never really knows exactly what he/she will get on that paper...maddening when trying to print an edition.A0 There are many variables to contend with, many elements to control.

I am sure the images will delight you and the processes will intrigue you.A0 Space permitting, 2 or 3 of some of the artists’ works are displayed.A0 Some worked exclusively in one particular medium while others submitted work in several different mediums.A0 Here you can see the strengths of a medium, the tone and the quality or "feel" each elicits.A0 Imagery was as varied as the mediums chosen.

I thank the artists who submitted work toA0this growing arts community, and the Rockaway Artists Alliance for affording me this wonderful opportunity to look closely at what printmakers are doing and where they are doing it.A0I am honored to have had this experi ence.

As Coleman states, the images are as varied as the mediums and the artists themselves. Here are some examples. Jami Taback is exhibiting monoprints that include collage and are inspired by her fascination with celestial bodies. In Jami’s words, "These works on paper incorporate more than one printing process allowing a veiling effect to occur. Two complete prints are produced in order to create one finished piece. The first print is on printing paper and the second print, the overlay, is on a tissue paper. This approach offers the viewer a feeling of peacefulness and deception at the same time."

Caryl C. Gordon of Texas creates abstract landscapes and still lifes using various printmaking techniques. "Burnt Bark Totem" is a monoprint made up of several plates of different materials, using relief-intaglio and stencils. His work was inspired by totem poles seen in British Columbia. The colorful prints created by Steve Gibson of California utilize techniques he developed for teaching at a venue where the cost of a press would have been prohibitive. His work is visually dazzling and intellectually provocative. For "Self Portrait with Many Hands," local artist Cindy Rosin em ployed photographic etching, adding "a painterly aspect to photography." Willa Mae Gilbert, who at age 76 calls herself "the Grandma Moses of Print making," worked for the New York Telephone Company for forty-three years and then earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at age 74. She is displaying a linoleum cut print in Pressed And Pulled.

The exhibition runs through March 7 at sTudio 6 Gallery, Fort Tilden in the Rockaway Center for the Arts (RoCA). Admission is free. Gallery hours are Saturdays 12-5 p.m., Sun days 1-4 PM and by appointment. For directions and more information, you may email: rockart116@aol.com.

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