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East Meets West in Relief Printmaking: A Comparison of Eastern and Western Style Woodcut

October 26, 2017 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm |

In support of our exhibit Visions/Revisions: The Print Transformed, the CHS invites you to a free demonstration of printmaking techniques by three members of the Printmakers’ Network of Southern New England. Accomplished artists, Margot Rocklen, Shirley Bernstein, and Yuemei Zhang, will discuss and compare the history and characteristics of prints created in the traditional relief styles of Europe and Asia. Each artist will display the tools and materials they work with, and the techniques associated with a specific type of woodcut.

After the presentation, the artists will do a live demonstration of the printmaking process.

This event is free, but please RSVP to let us know you will attend at (860) 236-5621 x238 or [email protected]

Learn more about the presenters:

Margot Rocklen: Bio and Artist Statement

Margot Rocklen lives in Woodbridge, Connecticut. She holds a BFA in Graphic Design from Carnegie Mellon University, and an MS in Art Education from Southern Connecticut State University. She studied printmaking at CMU and Tyler School of Art in Rome, Italy. Margot was a graphic designer and illustrator before beginning her teaching career. She is on the arts faculty at Gateway Community College, and previously taught at the Paier College of Art and the Cooperative Arts and Humanities Magnet High School, all in the New Haven area.

A founding member of the Printmakers’ Network of Southern New England, Margot has helped initiate and coordinate many of their projects, including INKLING, a program of printmaking activities and exhibits designed for hospital patients, and the group’s Visions/Revisions 25th anniversary exhibit and demonstration program.

Margot is a Board Member of the New Haven Paint and Clay Club, and a member of the Monotype Guild of New England and the Enamel Guild North East. She exhibits her prints in the eastern U.S., and internationally in Japan and Scotland. She has conducted demonstrations, presentations and workshops for high school and university art programs.

“I may employ one or several processes in the creation of a print. The subject matter must be something I feel passionate about: current social issues, references to places and objects I’ve found fascinating, or synergistic objects that evoke a strong emotion. I work from sketches and photographs, and use Adobe Photoshop in the design and plate making processes.

Some of my prints include imagery transferred from photosensitive polymer or polyester plates. I shape the plates with a jeweler’s saw, and print them using a jig and mechanical press. I may unify these separate images with rolls of color that extend into the background, or with colorful chine collé papers.

Mokuhanga, (Japanese woodblock) appeals to me for its directness and earthiness. The wood matrix, water-base pigments, wheat or rice paste binders, small array of manual cutting tools, and use of hand pressure rather than a mechanical printing press are reminders of what can be achieved through simple and accessible means. Unique Asian papers add subtle tonal and textural qualities to the print. The exacting methods of carving, registering and printing the blocks have been used for centuries.

I find the monotype medium inspirational and freeing; it has influenced my work in Japanese woodblock, mixed media, and also in enameling. Due to monotype’s eclectic nature (any combination of processes, tools, and materials can be used to make one unique print) the medium encourages spontaneity and experimentation. One monotype may lead to a series of related monoprints that explore the subject matter and provide a visual record of my creative process.”

Shirley Bernstein: Bio

Shirley Bernstein was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She earned her BFA at the University of the Arts (formerly Philadelphia College of Art) and earned her MFA from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN.  She majored in printmaking and minored in painting and drawing. Visit her website at shirleybernstein.com.

Shirley describes her work as organic abstractions in response to forms experienced through observation, both visual and emotional, of nature. She spent most of her adult life in New York City. When she moved to the rural northeast corner of Connecticut, she became captivated with the beauty of the land and sky and has been creating oil pastel paintings and prints of all kinds of skies since. Although her focus is primarily looking to the heavens for inspiration, she also enjoys drawing the figure and other natural forms.

She has an extensive exhibition record that includes both her oil pastels and prints and has shown her work both nationally and internationally. Her work is in the collections of Pacific Rim International Print collection, The Newport Museum, Robert Blackburn Collection at the Library of Congress, Slater Museum, Indiana University Museum, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, Union Carbide Corp., Neiman Marcus, Arjo Wiggins, Eastern CT State College, Wheaton College Rare Books, Staubiz Design, Dodd Center Special Collections at UCONN and Fairfield University, as well as private collection in the US, Europe and the Middle East.

While keeping up with a busy exhibition schedule, Shirley was also a dedicated art teacher and takes pride in her professional affiliations. She received the Teaching Excellence Award at Quinebaug Valley Community College where she retired from in 2013. She has also taught at the University of Connecticut, Eastern Connecticut State University, Cooper Union, NYC, Indiana University, IN, Kean University, NJ, Beaver College, PA, University of the Arts, PA, Fashion Institute, NYC and Knoxville College, TN.

Shirley was Artist of the Month in March for the Oil Pastel Society of America.  She is a founding member of the Printmakers Network of Southern New England and has been in eight print portfolios, as well as a book of poetry and prints with the group. She is also a member of the Los Angeles Printmakers Society, the Boston Printmakers and the Wood Engraver’s Society. She received the 75th Anniversary Award in a traveling exhibition in England from the Wood Engraver’s Society. Most recently she was awarded the Zea Mays printmaking prize at the Boston Printmakers 2015 Biennial.

Yuemei Zhang: Bio and Artist Statement

Yuemei Zhang is currently art director of Eastern Arts Connection, Inc. CT, and a member of the Printmaking Network of New England. She has won numerous awards, including: Asian Design Excellence, Paper World, Frankfurt, Germany; Best in Show Award, The Discovery Museum, Bridgeport, Connecticut; Graphics Award, Annual Art Exhibition, Beth El Temple, West Hartford, Connecticut; Elaine Avis Mathias Memorial Award, The 44th Exhibition, Guilford, Connecticut. She has had solo art shows at the following locations: National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China; CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, China; The Sun King Gallery, Hsin Chu, Taiwan; Bologna Landi Gallery, East Hampton, NY; DeBouver Fine Arts, Chicage, IL; The Art and Frame shop, West Hartford, Connecticut; The Town and County Club, Hartford, Connecticut; Variations Gallery, Riverton, Connecticut.

“The beauty of nature, landscapes, and figures always leads to my thoughts of memories and feelings of my old town, land, and peoples in China. Through the different solids such as a wooden window or a giant dark gate, my memories drive me to the opposite feeling of the free world.

I like to travel to many places in natural settings with my sketchbook and camera to catch the moments of life and feeling.  Sometimes my objects, such as a window or gate, will became the center of attraction in the artwork and will invite the viewer to think and dream.

I use woodcut, etching or silkscreen to work on those feelings of the morning mist of the yellow mountain; the late afternoon peace of Li River; the summer hiding lotus; the masked look of the Fu dog that stands near the gate; the joy of young girl on the bank.

My preferred method of work is to layer several images into one print, creating a new feeling of subjects, such as Yellow Mountain Gate.  I often work with light and dark contrasting images with an underlying connection, such as Li Garden.  I also like to connect traditional natural mountain images into my pictures, such as Lotus Peak, that contrast the movement of waterfall and cloud to show the new free life, that open a dialogue with traditional Chinese art, and that inspire new thoughts about the Chinese woodcut medium.”

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Please note the museum & research center will be closed for Thanksgiving (11/22)