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A unique portfolio of fine prints by Lehigh Valley artists will be on display Oct. 2-16 at Lafayette’s Williams Visual Arts Center, 243 North Third St.

The public is invited to a reception for the artists from 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2, at the Williams Visual Arts Building. Easton Mayor Thomas F. Goldsmith will be there to accept the first portfolio for the city’s permanent collection.

The portfolio underscores Lafayette’s commitment to collaborations with local artists. It includes the work of 13 of the Lehigh Valley’s most noted artists, documenting the cultural and artistic legacy of the community. Lafayette’s Experimental Printmaking Institute, directed by Curlee Raven Holton, associate professor of art, conceived and oversaw the project. Deborah Rabinsky, a local arts advocate, was project coordinator. The portfolio was made possible in part by City of Easton’s Individual Works of Art Program.

In addition to Holton, the artists involved are Salma Arastu, Berrisford Boothe, Vivian Fishbone, Brian Gormley, Geoffrey Gournet, Rick Hildenbrandt, Isadore LaDuca, Emil Lukas, Tara Santini, Christopher Tague, Koenraad Van Linden Tol, and Rhonda Wall.

Each artist created an original work for the portfolio. The artists were asked to respond to being members of the Lehigh Valley community. Using various printing techniques including etching, woodcut, and digital technology, the prints were hand-pulled and printed in color in an edition of 30, with five artists proofs. Each portfolio of prints is housed in a distinct hand-made box with a printed brochure enclosed. The portfolios are available as a collectable investment for institutions and private collectors at a cost of $2,500.

Santini’s piece, Lay Me Down to Sleep, utilizes woodcut and serigraphy techniques. Her print is an image of the cathedral in Köln, Germany, printed in vibrant yellows and reds. Tara incorporates text into her image in a very contemporary manner. The prayer “Lay Me Down To Sleep” is written in German creating a dramatic dialogue between image and text.

Hildenbrandt’s print represents the use of traditional and technologically advanced techniques. The artist employed the intaglio process including etching, aquatint, and drypoint. Hildenbrandt also used the digital photo-process in his plate making process. However, the most dynamic process was the use of experimental viscosity ink rolling techniques to create a surreal-like atmosphere of Easton’s scenic view overlooking the Delaware River near Larry Holmes Drive.

Holton, who joined the Lafayette faculty in 1991, is a master printmaker, educator, writer, and lecturer whose special interests include printmaking, African American art history, drawing, and painting. He has mounted more than 30 one-person shows and has participated in more than 75 group exhibitions, including the Seventh International Biennale at the National Center of Fine Arts, Cairo, and shows at Centro de Cultura Casa Lamm Gallery, Mexico City. His works are in the collections of several universities, foundations, and corporations, including the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Villanova University, and Morehouse College. He has participated in several residencies and special projects and has served as curator for a dozen exhibitions. He has also authored many articles and essays and presented numerous papers. He was the 1999 recipient of Lafayette’s Carl R. and Ingeborg Beidleman Research Award, recognizing excellence in applied research or scholarship.

Tague graduated from Lafayette in 2000 cum laude with a double major and honors in art and English. He was the recipient of the College’s Vivian B. Noblett Prize in Studio Art and Gilbert Prize for superiority in English.

A fine print is a work of art created from the printing or the transferring of an image from one surface to another. In most cases, this is done by using metal, wood, or stone surfaces with images drawn, etched or inked directly on its surface. In the case of intaglio and drypoint prints, the ink deposits in the lines that have been etched or scratched into and, after the surface is wiped clean, is placed on a special printing press with a sheet of fine printing paper over the plate. The paper is pressed slowly through the press to transfer the image. Finally, the paper is carefully removed from the plate and left to dry. Many variations on this basic process have been investigated over the centuries. Most recently, the computer has been a tool to transfer a virtual image to an actual one. A fine print is considered an original work of art because it is created individually by the artist, printed individually in a limited number, and then signed by the artist to insure its uniqueness and value.

For information on purchasing a portfolio, contact Holton, (610) 330-5592. For information on the exhibit, contact Jim Toia, director of community based teaching at the Williams Visual Arts Building, (610) 330-5577.

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