Opening Thursday at the Schack:

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I’m grateful to Gale Fiege who published, in the Herald Net, on Thursday, December 31, 2015, a wonderful article about Schack Art Center’s upcoming exhibitions. I’m also humbled to be a part of the Skagit Women Print exhibit there.

Fiege writes:

It is indeed a happy new year for people involved with the Schack Art Center.

In fact, 2016 could be the Schack’s most memorable year in its four-year history, with planned exhibitions that will likely put the Everett institution on the fine arts map of the West Coast.

This year, it’s all about prints at the Schack.

The biggest deal is the exhibit of Chuck Close prints coming in May. It will be only the second time the Snohomish County native’s printmaking works have been shown on the West Coast.

Close is best known as a painter and photographer who achieved international renown with his huge portraits that incorporate grids and intricate patterns to form realistic paintings. Many of the prints to be displayed in Everett have already been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan and in many other museums around the world.

“The Chuck Close exhibit focuses on his long history with printmaking and it provides a fantastic opportunity to celebrate print arts as a medium,” Shack gallery director Carie Collver said. “We wanted to surround it with other exhibits that highlight this art form and bring attention to the many forms of printmaking.

”To that end, the year starts out with a proverbial bang.

A show of prints by the iconic Northwest master painter Guy Anderson opens Jan. 7, as does a show of prints by women from Skagit County, where printmaking has seen a renaissance of sorts.

Elizabeth Brinton, a Schack print instructor and the featured artist in the Schack shop in January, said she is looking forward to the opening.

“Printmaking goes back to ancient times and expresses primal methods of image making,” Brinton said. “Something significant is happening when a print is being made: A sense of discovery of the infinite possibilities and a world unfolds.”

Since artists now have mechanized and digitized means of making words and images on paper, printmakers are freed to explore the old techniques in new ways, Brinton said.

“We are seeing a revival of letterpress and silkscreen in particular,” she said. “Many of us make prints not to have multiples of the same image, but rather to achieve a certain energy and a quality which comes through in the print and cannot be made any other way.

“In teaching, I always try to get the student past themselves and their preconceived ideas. The depth of the printmaking process provides a doorway to that. It is a great way to get unstuck and to dive in.”

“Skagit Women Print” includes 18 artists who live or work in Skagit Valley. They have joined together to produce a suite of original prints that focus on landscape and how the valley influences the artists’ own lives.

The contributors include printmakers, painters, poets, photographers and potters. Each artist produced an edition of 25 prints, drawing from a range of printmaking methods including linoleum block, wood block, solar plate etching, vitreograph, mezzotint, chine colle and serigraph.

The exhibit is curated by project organizer Natalie Niblack.

“In Skagit Valley, it is easy to be seduced by the incredible beauty and overlook the intrusions of how human habitation has manipulated that beauty to suit our needs,” Niblack said. “We love Skagit Valley, both the wild and the man-made. This suite of prints explores those contradictions and complex pressures through the eyes of women who live here.”

The “Skagit Women Print” artists are Jane Alynn, Jean Behnke, Eve Deisher, Heidi Epstein, Kathleen Faulkner, Jules Remedios Faye, Jessica Gigot, Kathryn Glowen, Nicolette Harrington, Theodora Jonsson, Ellen Jane Michael, Kris Ekstrand Molesworth, Natalie Niblack, Ann Chadwick Reid, Sue Roberts, Stella Spring, Twila Tate and Kristin Loffer Theiss.

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