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Art: Susan Jaworski-Stranc
Neighbors

I’m on the email list of 13 Forest Gallery in Arlington, Mass. The first time I went there, the owner enlivened his art opening with guest opera singers.

This time, he had a printmaker demonstrate a type of linoleum printing that Picasso dubbed “suicide” printmaking. Others use the word “reduction” instead of “suicide.”

When I tell you how the work is done, you will understand why Picasso felt as he did.

Instead of carving, say, four different blocks for a four-color print, the artist uses only one block. A mistake at one stage can end the whole project.

Lowell resident Susan Jaworski-Stranc has been doing reduction linoleum printmaking for more than 30 years. As the website for 13 Forest explains, “with each layer, you carve more of the block away — so once a layer has been printed and you start carving for the next layer, there’s no going back.”

The artist herself says, “After each successive printing of a color, the surface of the block is reduced while at the same time the printing surface is built up with multi-layered colors. Born from one block of linoleum, my relief prints have the nuance and rich textural surfaces of an oil painting.

“Although Picasso coined this method of working a ‘suicide print,’ I rather think of this printmaking process as emulating the journey of life. While creating my prints, I am never able to re-visit past stages. I can only proceed forward with the acceptance of all good and not so good choices which were mediated and acted upon with the hope and joy of completion.”

On August 13, the gallery was packed as Jaworski-Stranc demonstrated. Many in the audience were experienced printmakers who asked intelligent questions that showed the rest of us what sorts of issues matter to artists.

One person asked if Jaworski-Stranc knew what the picture was supposed to look like in advance, and she explained that she started with a detailed drawing. Another artist wanted to know if the colors of Jaworski-Stranc’s very first reduction print (which she showed us) were what she anticipated.

The artist laughed, holding up that print. “Are you kidding? How would I ever think up a color like this!?”

Clearly, despite all the careful planning that goes into a print, Jaworski-Stranc relishes the beauty of randomness.

More here.

Art: Susan Jaworski-Stranc
Coastal Forces at Sunset

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Artist Susan Jaworski-Stranc is having a show she’s calling Water Blues at Centro Restaurant and Bar in Lowell. The exhibit, which includes oil paintings and linoleum prints, runs to March 17 at 24 Market St.

If you can get to Lowell on Sunday, Feb 23, there’s a reception where you can meet the artist, 1 pm to 3 pm.

My husband and I have been to a number of art shows in Lowell, which is quite a creative community. Our favorite Lowell artist is a former boss of mine, Meredith Fyfe Day, who held down a newspaper job while she was artist in residence at the Whistler House. I worked for her at the Harte-Hanks community newspaper chain in the early 1990s.

Here’s the intriguing artist statement from Jaworski-Stranc: “I am a printmaker, specializing in the creation of linoleum block prints. After each successive printing of a color, the surface of the block is reduced while at the same time the printing surface is built up with multi-layered colors. Born from one block of linoleum, my relief prints have the nuance and rich textural surfaces of an oil painting.

“Although Picasso coined this method of working, a ‘suicide print,’ I rather think of this printmaking process as emulating the journey of life. While creating my prints, I am never able to re-visit past stages. I can only proceed forward with the acceptance of all good and not so good choices which were mediated and acted upon with the hope and joy of completion.”

When Asakiyume and I met in December at the Worcester Art Museum, there was an exhibit on printmaking that showed what prints looked like at each of the layering stages. Challenging work. I love that Jaworski-Stranc sees the printmaker’s role as accepting each previous stage and working with it. As she says, “The journey of life.” Another good topic for a poem.

Find out more about Susan Jaworski-Stranc here. And thank you, Vyü magazine, for the lead.

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If I come to work early, I often take a walk at lunch. I love the Greenway, which is especially nice in spring and summer. And the Fort Channel district (the Mayor likes to call it the Innovation District) seems to have something new to see almost every week — repurposed warehouses, galleries, restaurants, pocket parks.

Fort Point Arts got bumped from its space next to Flour (a yummy restaurant) on Farnsworth, so one lunchtime I made a point of checking out its new space off A Street.

I especially like that they show art depicting the Fort Point neighborhood — partly because walking there makes me attached to that part of Boston, and partly because Fort Point is changing fast. (About 18 years ago, when I went to an arts open house there, many artists had studios with beds on ledges and  tiny kitchens. Some artists were squatting in dangerous buildings with wires hanging down, no heat, no doors, no lighting. That world is gone.)

Laura Davidson was one of the featured artists when I was last in the Fort Point Arts shop. She had some block prints of her neighborhood that I admired.

Be sure to check her home page. Everyone should have a home page that looks like a treasure map.

Art:Endangered Neighborhood” reprint of 1995 view of Fort Point), 2012, Laura Davidson

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