NMWA presents Presswork: The Art of Women Printmakers, featuring selections from the Lang Communications Corporate Collection of fine prints by contemporary American women artists. The exhibition is on view from September 24 through December 1, 1991, in the second-floor galleries. Publisher of Working Woman, Working Mother, and Sassy, Lang Communications has formed a sizeable collection of prints by women that demonstrates the diversity of artistic styles and printmaking processes characteristic of the past two decades.
Presswork: The Art of Women Printmakers offers a comprehensive look at the rich and varied accomplishments of contemporary women artists in the medium of printmaking. The exhibit includes such well-known figures as Helen Frankenthaler, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, Ida Applebroog, Louisa Chase, Elizabeth Murray, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Faith Ringgold, Miriam Schapiro, Harmony Hammond, Nancy Graves, Barbara Kruger, as well as Washington-area artists such as Aline Feldman and Katja Oxman. Among the works selected for this exhibition are a number of new editions that have not been exhibited previously.
Since the 1960s the art world has witnessed a revived interest in printmaking in the United States. The booming art market of the past three decades has encouraged well-known painters and sculptors to produce more work, and this demand has largely been met in the form of multiples or editions. In recent decades artists also have begun to critique the expanding influence of the mass media in contemporary society. Printmaking, an art form traditionally associated with mass communication and commercial enterprise as well as fine art, is seen by many to be an ideal vehicle for such commentary.
What is perhaps the most significant aspect of the expansion of printmaking as an art form is the role women have played in creating, marketing, and exhibiting contemporary prints over the past three decades. Women have been in the vanguard of artists who have revolutionized the stylistic and technical aspects of printmaking. As “master printers” and print publishers, they have been instrumental in developing a network for the production and distribution of prints.