Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC)


an exhibit of work by artists whose pieces are also in Montgomery County's Works on Paper Collection

About the Exhibit

Presented in conjunction with Pyramid Atlantic's 12th Biannual Book Arts Fair, this exhibit features work by artists whose pieces are also in Montgomery County's Works on Paper Collection: Lila Oliver Asher, Raya Bodnarchuk, Helga Thomson and Caroline Thorington.

Exhibit Dates

This exhibit is on display from Thursday, October 4 to Friday, November 23, 2012
The gallery is open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday.

Gallery Talks in November

The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County is pleased to host a gallery talk by exhibiting artists at the Betty Mae Kramer Gallery in the Civic Center Building on Sunday, November 18.  This free event will run from 2-4 pm and is open to the public.  Light refreshments will be served.  Also on this afternoon, the Civic Center will be hosting the Book Arts Fair, the preeminent book arts event on the East Coast.

The current exhibition, titled Bookmarks, showcases older and newer works by four local artists whose work is included in the County’s Works on Paper collection The schedule for the talks will be:

  • 2:00 pm:  Caroline Thorington will illustrate how she creates her lithographic prints: by drawing directly on stone, in the same tradition as artists from the nineteenth century.
  • 2:30 pm:  Helga Thomson will discuss how she has embraced technology to continue making collages with digital prints.
  • 3:00 pm:  Lila Oliver Asher will explain how to make a linoleum block print, or linocut, and talk about what has inspired her art for the past several decades.

Curator of Bookmarks, Crystal Polis, will moderate the talks and also share a brief history of the County's Works on Paper Collection.  We hope you can join us for an event that will highlight different printmaking techniques and make viewers think about an artist¬ís process.

About the Artists

Lila Oliver Asher’s primary medium is linocut block prints. She has been making art in the region since 1946 and showed at the Franz Bader Gallery, the first modern art gallery in Washington, D.C. To make a linocut, the artist incises lines with a knife or chisel into a sheet of linoleum (in Asher’s case this is mounted on a wooden block). Then the artist rolls ink over the sheet and presses the linocut block onto paper by hand or with a press. The raised or uncut inked areas form the image (in reverse), with the carved part being represented by a white line. Sometimes Asher hand-colors her prints, as in Pictures at an Exhibition. Used originally for making wallpaper, major artists Matisse and Picasso elevated the technique to a true art form. Lila Oliver Asher continues the tradition with her fluent line, keen eye for pattern and conveyance of profound human emotion with universal themes like Grief.

Raya Bodnarchuk works in two- and three-dimensions. In addition to four prints, Montgomery County is also fortunate to own two of her sculptural works in its Public Art collection: Animals of Forest Glen at a pedestrian bridge along Georgia Avenue and an untitled painted wooden sculpture at the Potomac Library. Bodnarchuk’s prints are actually quite sculptural as well. These silkscreens include cut-outs and elements of collage. Silkscreen, or screenprinting, is a stencil method of printmaking in which a design is imposed on a screen of silk or other fine mesh, with blank areas coated with an impermeable substance. Ink is forced through the mesh onto the printing surface, producing the image. Bodnarchuk depicts animals suspended in time and space. She uses small shapes and repetitive patterns, as in Sea Turtle, that come together for a calming, graceful effect.

A founding member of the Washington Printmakers Gallery (now located off Georgia Avenue in the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center), Helga Thomson is proficient in a wide variety of printmaking techniques. Examples from an early series on exhibit here, Bio-Boxes #36 and #38, are etchings on handmade paper. Her use of color and layering produces a quilt-like effect. In the more recent Torso series, she applies wax and clay pigments on a plate or board and then produces collagraphs, or collage-like prints, on handmade paper. Thomson’s latest work has been digital, where she portrays two ends of the spectrum: the organic, as in Oak Tree Rubbing, and the technological, as in Personal Information. In both cases, though, the subject matter yields a delightful amount of data and pattern due to Thomson’s careful choice of layers.

Today, a lithograph has come to mean a print created using photography and/or an off-set process. We associate it with mass production, as in posters. But Caroline Thorington creates lithographic prints the nineteenth and early twentieth century way: by drawing directly on the stone. She uses the highest quality stone, called Solnhofen limestone after the location of this Bavarian quarry. Thorington is also exacting about her ink, using only Charbonnel pigments from France. To apply the image to paper, Thorington uses lithographic crayons, razor blades and pencils. The results are masterful. Thorington’s subject matter includes people (often in crowds or groups), animals and mythology/fantasy. She sometimes includes her own poetry or reflections in the print as in Indiana Sky. Thorington’s skill as a draftswoman is evident in her rendering of nature. The viewer is rewarded by close observation of her work – look for surprises and humor in the details.

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