April 13, 2003 – "Pressed Papers," the show opening Saturday evening at the Sólo Arte gallery in the Lumberyard complex in Cruz Bay on St. John, will feature etchings by four artists from three continents:
– Maria Henle of St. Croix, who worked extensively in Italy and New York before returning home to her native St. Croix.
– Jimena Corrêa of Brazil, who recently relocated to St. Croix from San Francisco.
– Ellen Graubart of London.
– Janet Cook-Rutnik of St. John, who owns Sólo Arte.
As both an artist and a curator, Cook-Rutnik says, she considers this "my most exciting show to date." She adds that "it is an honor to have a full collection of etchings" by master printers Henle, Corrêa and Graubart and notes that she, too, will be showing "a variety of prints in different media."
All four women plan to be present to discuss the "methodology and meaning" of their original prints at the opening reception and afterwards at a special "Artists' Supper" at La Tapa Restaurant.
Henle's color etchings "have won numerous honors and awards since she mastered the technique in Florence, Italy, studying in private ateliers before moving on to New York City's famed Printmaking Workshop," Cook-Rutnik says. "There, Maria dedicated herself to color etching for 12 years, producing a large body of work that has been exhibited nationally and internationally." So great was Henle's success that those limited-edition etchings, except for a few in her own collection, have all been sold.
"They are becoming increasingly precious, as Maria has devoted herself exclusively to painting since returning to St. Croix 10 years ago," Cook-Rutnik says.
Henle's work was exhibited in the VIA Colectiva show of Virgin Islands artists' work at San Juan's Museo de las Américas last fall, as was Cook-Rutnik's.
Corrêa, born in Brazil, received her bachelor in fine arts degree from the Art Institute in São Paulo. "Early on, she discovered her passion for printmaking, specifically etching," Cook-Rutnik says, quoting the artist as saying that "she was awed with the infinite possibilities of working with metal, shaping and transforming a simple sheet of zinc or copper into myriad lines, shapes and textures."
She continued to develop her etching techniques at São Paulo's Museum of Contemporary Art and the University of São Paulo. In 1990, she moved to San Francisco, California, where she studied English and printmaking at San Francisco City College. Five years later, she joined the Graphic Arts Workshop and began to build a body of work which she has exhibited locally and internationally. Last June, she moved to St. Croix to work on a new series of island-inspired prints which will be a part of the "Pressed Papers" exhibition.
Graubart, born in India of American parents, studied at Chatham Hall, Virginia, and in London, where she has lived since 1967. Her first work in England was designing and making sets and costumes for the Focus Opera. She performed and worked in various theatrical and musical productions during this period before she began devoting herself exclusively to printmaking. Her etchings have been exhibited and collected worldwide and come to St. John by way of her sister, Kate Norfleet, and Solo Arte.
Cook-Rutnik will be exhibiting original prints hand pulled in her Guavaberry Farms studio in Fish Bay and on her large etching press at Sólo Arte. She has produced "many editions of screenprints over the years since first learning the method from the late Jim Tillett in the early '80s." She will be showing some of these familiar prints of Caribbean architecture "along with new experiments in collagraphy, monotype and linocut."
The opening reception on Saturday is from 6 to 8 p.m. The gallery is located on the second story of the blue building at the far end of the Lumberyard complex in downtown Cruz Bay. An art banner hangs from the upper floor.
Reservations are required for the Artists' Supper, which is open to the public. To make them, call La Tapa at 693-7755. To learn more about the exhibition, call the gallery at 715- 2150.
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