By Lane Johnson

Head on over to the Lane Community College Art Gallery to see their 2022 exhibit! The Roger Hall and the Main Art Gallery are in Building 11 on the LCC campus, and are open Monday through Friday, 9am to 4pm.

I reached out to art professor Susan Lowdermilk to hear about her artworks being displayed at the LCC gallery. She told me about the creation of her two prints on exhibit and gave the background for the show as a whole.

Lowdermilk: Both of my pieces exhibited were created as multiple block woodcuts and were hand printed on an etching press. My wildfire woodcut was originally created as a pop-up image in an artist book called YOU Cannot Put a Fire Out which features a poem by Emily Dickinson. The book’s theme reflects upon our current climate instability. I re-printed the woodblocks and glued the laser cut layers together as my submission for the Communities West IV portfolio exchange. I created my woodcut “2020 Conflagration” in response to that year’s unprecedented wildfire season and the sudden mass die-off of migratory birds in the Western States. Both tragic events were caused by weather instabilities due to our changing climate. I made black ink for this piece from charcoal from the “Holiday Farm Fire,” a catastrophic fire that burned in the McKenzie River watershed. Aside from being included in the BIMA portfolio exchange, I sold the prints as a fundraiser for the McKenzie River Trust to help in the aftermath of the fire.

LCC Gallery: The prints in this exhibition are comprised of three print portfolio exchanges from the collection of Susan Lowdermilk. Artists involved in each portfolio created an original print responding to the specific themes and printed a fixed amount, called an edition, enough for every contributing artist to receive a full portfolio of prints from the exchange. The organizers of each portfolio set up the call for artists, collated the final set of prints and mailed the final portfolio sets to the artists. Print exchanges serve as a valuable, visual dialogue between printmakers. The intent is not for commercial sale. Each print in the portfolio is a learning tool for the other artists physically hold in their hands; to enjoy, to study, and gain inspiration regarding differing approaches to technique and artistic visions, how each artist interprets a common theme, and how they use and mix various processes and materials. Portfolio exchanges are also a way for the artists to gain artistic exposure. Some exchanges are invitational, most are open to all printmakers. They include local to international calls for participation.

Printmaking tools

A print is an impression made by a number of methods that involves transferring ink from a matrix to another surface, usually paper and often using a printing press. Printmaking processes displayed in this exhibition include: (relief) woodcut, linocut and letterpress text, (intaglio) etching and drypoint, screenprint, pressure printing, with the addition of hand coloring, collage and chine colle. Printmaking is considered a democratic medium. Created intentionally as multiples, prints are typically more accessible and affordable to the public than one of a kind works of art. It is important to recognize that each print in an edition is an intentional and original work of art created by the artist, not a reproduction or copy from one original.

Professor Lowdermilk will be giving a gallery talk to her Experimental Printmaking students on January 24th at 3:30. The Media Arts Department will film it and make the link available and/or post it on social media.

Lane Community College offers a variety of courses in printmaking in the processes listed above. Course prefixes are: ART270 – 275. Course descriptions can be found in Lane’s online catalog. For more information and questions contact the following Printmaking instructors: Susan Lowdermilk, and Kristie Potwora,

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