Sunday, May 6, 2018

Local Art Seen: Printmakers Cooper and Rauschenfels Show Their Stuff

Tom Rauschenfels shares a favorite print by Kathy Kolwitz.
It was five years ago when I discovered the breadth of the printmaking scene here in the Northland. Through a show at the North Shore Bank of Commerce I met Cecelia Lieder and learned about the Northern Printmakers Alliance. In our interview Ms. Lieder shared how printmaking evolved from a craft to a fine art form during the 20th century.

On Thursday evening the Magnolia Salon in Carlton hosted a presentation by Tom Rauschenfels, who taught art for 35 years at Hermantown High School and continues to make art and teach since retiring ten years ago. His easygoing temperament and outgoing personality must have made him an enjoyable teacher, for he certainly had a lot of enthusiasm while sharing at the Oldenburg House.

Our lakes are a source of inspiration for both artists.
His talk began with a slideshow in which he showed examples of the various kinds of printmaking through history. Intaglio, which means etching, is a method of metal engraving which is no longer in widespread use because of the chemicals involved. Relief printing can be executed with a variety of different materials and includes woodcut, linocut, Chine-collé and wood engraving. Lithography is another kind of printmaking in which artisans create an image on a polished stone, zinc plate or polyester plate that is then transferred to the paper.  Screen printing is most familiar to us as most of us have worn screen printed T-shirts.

After telling us about the terms and tools, he talked about the advantages and disadvantages of various woods and surfaces. "Pine is wonderful to carve, but it loses its edge as you apply force (when printing). Linoleum, on the other hand, carves easy and keeps its edge."

Tools of the trade.
He showed examples of work by Kathy Kolwitz, who was banned by the Nazis, Emil Nolde, and others including the remarkable wood engravings of M.C. Escher who worked in maple. Mr. Rauschenfels then showed some of his own impressive work.

Using his examples from his own work he presented an in-depth how to clinic of sorts, showing the decisions he made along the way when making six-color images, how he gets the registration correct, how he produces depth and some of the wonderful papers he selects.

ON FRIDAY the Red Mug Coffeehouse in Superior hosted an opening reception for screen printer Joel Cooper whose work is now on display there. Cooper, whose wife Deb Cooper is a former Duluth Poet Laureate, has been a fine arts printer for nearly 30 years. What follows here are photos of Cooper's limited edition serigraphs. A link to Joel and Deb Cooper's website can be found at the end of this blog post.

Related Links
About the Magnolia Salon

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Engage it.

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