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“Women of the Experimental Printmaking Institute,” an exhibit featuring prints, artist books, and works on paper, is being displayed through April 18 at the David A. Portlock Black Cultural Center. The exhibition opened March 10.

Exhibit artists Shellie Jacobson, Mary Ann Miller, Liz Mitchell, and Maryann Riker discussed their influences and experiences during a panel discussion and reception at the center March 13.

Free and open to the public, the events were part of Lafayette’s celebration of Women’s History Month.

“We pay tribute to the significance that these four women have played in establishing the reputation of EPI both nationally and internationally,” says EPI director Curlee Holton, associate professor of art. “The standards they have set have elevated the standards of work done at EPI; I’m sure those who view this exhibit will agree. All four of these artists have been both mentors and role models to our students and we look forward to their continued association with the Experimental Printmaking Institute.”

“This [exhibition] is promoting Women’s History Month by showcasing the work of four women whose art has been on display in regional and national venues. Each artist serves as a positive role model, and by sharing their experiences with students, they demonstrate career options.”

Senior art major Krista Catalano of Greenwich, Conn., helped Ellis and the four artists mount the exhibit. She also designed a catalog that contains the artists’ biographies, information on EPI, and a statement from Holton.

“Krista has been a part of this exhibition from beginning to end,” says Ellis. “She has helped with all aspects, large and small, and treated all parts of the project with professionalism.”

Catalano is a participant in Master Artist/Master Printmaker, an EPI program that promotes graphic and fine arts, fosters unique mentoring opportunities, encourages creative experimentation, and enables artists and students to work side-by-side. Last fall, she completed an independent study under the guidance Holton that enabled her to mount exhibits and interact with visiting artists.

She has worked in the art department’s slide room for the past two years and is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.

Since its founding by Holton in 1996, the Experimental Printmaking Institute has provided an open and creative environment in which artists and students create new bodies of work while investigating and experimenting with a wide variety of approaches to the print medium. Its Artist-in-Residency and Visiting Artist Programs have brought more than 30 artists to campus, many with international reputations, to produce original work with students. A Professional Practices Workshop provides students with advanced training in areas such as art administration, design, promotion, presentation, curating, exhibitions, research, and outreach. EPI art exhibitions and international exchanges have introduced a broad range of artists and contemporary printmaking trends to members of the Lafayette community and beyond.

For almost 30 years, Shellie Jacobson has taught ceramics and created art exhibited in national and international venues. The artist’s books she designed at the Experimental Printmaking Institute are part of a traveling exhibition displayed in several U.S. cities, Costa Rica, Japan, and England.

A former art teacher and counselor, painter Mary Ann Miller is founder/coordinator of “Cycles: Women in the Arts,” a group of 20 visual and performing artists who meet regularly in the North/Central Jersey area to discuss art and related issues. She is also an instructor at Hunterdon Museum of Art in Clinton, N.J., and presented material at the New Jersey Book Arts Symposium.

A founding member of Gallery Petite, an artist cooperative in High Bridge, N.J., Liz Mitchell is artist-in-residence at the Experimental Printmaking Institute. She also serves on the Foundation Board at Raritan Valley Community College. Her work, which has been exhibited nationally and internationally, combines, dissects, and rearranges objects from everyday life. Along with intricate two-dimensional collage works, she presents books in abstract forms that contain items and images from nature in unusual and surprising settings.

Maryanne Riker is a mixed-media artist who uses handmade paper, xerography, paint, pencil, stitching, and Plexiglas to illustrate the role of women and the American family. Her work incorporates vintage photography, advertising text, and graphic iconography. Riker has solo exhibitions mounted in local galleries and her work has won many awards, including the Montclair State University Harriet Chapman Award for Artistic Excellence and Scholarship and the Cecil B. Shapiro Memorial Award.

After its run at Lafayette, the exhibit will be displayed at Morris County Library from Aug. 30-Oct. 2.

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