Community college printmakers make an impression at Quiet Waters gallery

New exhibit brings college club members to Annapolis

  • Chris Mona, a professor of art at Anne Arundel community college, looks at works in an exhibit from the printmaking club of the college, which are on display at the gallery at Quiet Waters Park. He is an artist who has work in the show and is also the club's leader.
Chris Mona, a professor of art at Anne Arundel community college,… (Barbara Haddock Taylor,…)
September 05, 2014|By Pamela Wood, The Baltimore Sun

In one print, the silos at Millersville's Kinder Farm Park are represented in countless tiny dots in shades of gray.

Across the hallway, the Bay Bridge is silhouetted against a sky with blazing colors of red, orange and yellow.

And upstairs, foreboding blue storm clouds gather over the water.

Dozens of prints of all types — lithographs, woodcuts, etchings — cover the walls of the Willow Gallery at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis, the latest show from the busy artists in Anne Arundel Community College's printmaking club.

Some prints tell their stories in shades of black and gray; others have arresting colors that command attention.

Chris Mona, the club's faculty sponsor, is thrilled to share the group's works with audiences at Quiet Waters, one of the most popular parks in Anne Arundel.

"We're doing exciting things," said Mona, an art professor and chairman of AACC's humanities department. "Artwork isn't complete until people see it. The work's not complete until it's seen by others."

The printmaking club is one of the college's most active groups, Mona said. The only requirement to join is to be a current AACC student enrolled in least one class. There are about 20 members, and 17 have works in the Quiet Waters exhibit, including a few pieces from Mona and other professors.

Cathy Farrell Sheahan of Annapolis has three prints in the show: a woman's sad face in gray with blocks of red and orange overlays, as well as two black-and-gold silhouettes. She stopped by the gallery Thursday during her morning walk at the park to check out the exhibit, which had opened the day before.

Sheahan has mostly worked as a portrait painter, but said she was always intrigued by prints when visiting galleries. She signed up for an intaglio printing course at the college and was hooked.

"You're never quite finished with what you're doing — endless possibilities," Sheahan said. She said she also enjoys the camaraderie among printmakers, who are eager to share techniques and help one another.

"It's so good for each of us to be around people better than we are," she said.

The college's printing facilities include "near state-of-the-art" equipment for artists to use a range of printing techniques, both cutting-edge and traditional, Mona said.

Techniques employed by the college's artists include lithography, intaglio presses, woodcuts, screen prints, letter presses and monotype. Each is a variation of engraving or etching a design onto a material, then transferring it onto a print.

"It's a great learning environment," Mona said.

Mona said printmaking often draws artists who have worked in other media, including painting, drawing, bookmaking, photography and sculpture. His group of printmakers includes some who bring unique perspectives to the process, such as an architect and a retired physicist.

Some artists combine multiple techniques into their printmaking, such as Sheahan, who combined lithography with "chine colle" — an overlay of Asian rice paper — for one of her prints. Others make "collographs," which are collages featuring lithography.

That variety of backgrounds and perspectives often results in creative collaboration in the studio, Mona said.

"It's a whole hotbed of creativity," he said.

Walking through the Quiet Waters gallery, Mona pointed out variety among the prints: a giant, three-scoop cone of mint-green ice cream made with a woodcut, a glittery depiction of Queen Anne's lace flowers made with a gelatin monoprint, a black-and-white landscape of a stand of trees with tall grass in the foreground, made with a technique called sugar-coat aquatint.

Members of the printmaking club officially gather monthly for meetings, but they often spend time together in the studio, as well.

In the three years of the club's existence, members have put on five shows. They also created a book that was just accepted into the Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Fair, to be held in November in Silver Spring — a high honor for the club, Mona said.

The printmakers will hold a reception for the Quiet Waters exhibit at 2 p.m. Sept. 7. The show runs through Oct. 12 at the Willow Gallery in the visitors center at Quiet Waters Park, 600 Quiet Waters Park Road in Annapolis. Information: 410-222-1777.

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