Exhibits put prints in perspective

February 17, 2008|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

Two Tri-State galleries are featuring exhibits on artistic prints.

"The Maryland Printmakers: Changes," on view through March 15 at the Washington County Arts Council, features work by the Maryland Printmakers, a group of around 200 artists and printmaking enthusiasts.

Another exhibit, "Juxtapositions," on view at Bogigian Art Gallery at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pa., through Friday, showcases work by members of the Penn's Woods Printmakers, a group of regional printmakers that meets twice a month at Wilson College's printmaking studio.

"Almost every two-dimensional artist plays with it at some point," said Philip Lindsey, associate professor of fine arts and gallery director at Wilson College. "All the masters."


Painters Rembrandt, Degas and Picasso all dabbled in printmaking, Lindsey said.

Artistic prints refer to artwork created by a printing press and imply a degree of manual labor. Most of the prints on display in these shows are intaglio or relief prints, in which the artist chemically etches or hand-carves an image onto a plate. The plate is inked, then pressed against paper (or some other flat surface), resulting in an imprint.

For centuries, the process of printmaking has evolved, becoming more automated over time. Computers are the latest tool in printmaking. For traditionalists like Sarah Anne "Sue" Frotscher, artist and member of Penn's Woods Printmakers, new technology is a threat, blurring the line between artistic printmaking and making fancy photocopies.

"Computer-generated images are frowned upon, Frotscher said.

Artists with the Maryland Printmakers have not reached a consensus on whether to embrace technology. Some of the artists use the newer, automated techniques, while others prefer the traditional route, said Darryl Marsan, president of the group. The Washington County exhibit will include work from both schools.

"We kind of grapple with the same issues, with what may be considered computer-generated prints," Marsan said.

Marsan said that he thinks eventually printmakers will warm up to the use of computers. "Just as photographers warmed up to going digital," he said.

If you go ...

WHAT: "The Maryland Printmakers: Changes," an exhibit of work by the Maryland Printmakers

WHEN: Now through Saturday, March 15

WHERE: Washington County Arts Council, 14 W. Washington St., Hagerstown

COST: Free

MORE: Call the Washington County Arts Council, 301-791-3132

WHAT: "Juxtapositions," an exhibit of work by Penn's Woods Printmakers

WHEN: Now through Friday, Feb. 22

WHERE: Bogigian Art Gallery, Wilson College. The campus is at 1015 Philadelphia Ave., Chambersburg, Pa.

COST: Free

MORE: Call Philip Lindsey, 717-264-4141, ext. 3305.

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