SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV—A Shepherd University professor will discuss the process of printmaking with visitors to the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown, Maryland, on Sunday, September 27, from 1:30-2:15 pm. Rhonda J. Smith, chair of the Department of Contemporary Art and Theater and coordinator of the non-toxic printmaking program, will give a tour titled The Impressions of the Mark that explores the printmaking processes used by artists whose works are included in the exhibit Modern Masters.
“I anticipate I will focus on how the process is done and how this impacts the aesthetic and communicative qualities of the final work,” Smith said. “Lithography, intaglio, and screen printing are all processes utilized by artists whose work can be viewed in the exhibit.”
Smith said printmaking, unlike painting and sculpture, can trace its history through recorded time. The oldest method employed by European artists is the process of intaglio invented in Germany around 1400. In 1789 lithography was adopted for commercial printing throughout Europe and the United States. According to Smith, screen printing with stencils is perhaps the most ancient of techniques utilized first in Asia in 500 A.D.
“Printmaking allowed European artists to issue multiples of original artwork for distribution to a wider audience, increasing both the fame and the fortune of the artist,” Smith said. “Twentieth century artists like those included in this exhibit sought to redefine and reinvent the processes of printmaking as they exploited and explored the limitations and the opportunities of printmaking.”
Smith said understanding more about the processes employed to create each work elevates understanding and appreciation of the exhibit.