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Arts Clayton premieres 'Champion Spirit' and 'Handpulled'

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

The Arts Clayton gallery introduced two new exhibits Thursday, one which introduces the ancient, yet relatively-obscure art of printmaking, and another which explores the hero in everyone.

"Handpulled: Work from the Atlanta Printmakers Studio," will hang at Arts Clayton until May 1. The exhibit "Champion Spirit" will hang at the gallery until May 29.

Courtney Fort, gallery assistant for Arts Clayton, who also specializes in printmaking, worked with the Atlanta Printmakers Studio to bring 28 of its pieces to the gallery. She said printmaking, which utilizes a variety of cutting, stenciling, and stamping techniques to make unique images, is an art form often overlooked by traditional canvas painters. She said the Atlanta Printmakers Studio is helping "raise awareness of the medium."

"It's been around for a while, but not as many artists are into it," Fort said. "Lithography was invented in the 1700s. It's a really great art form and I think the Atlanta Printmakers Studio is spreading awareness of that."

In addition to introducing works to visitors, members of the studio demonstrated a variety of printmaking techniques in the gallery, including lithography, which uses chemicals to burn designs onto metal plates or stone which then accept or reject paint. Artists also demonstrated intaglio, creating depressions in metal plates to hold ink in specific designs, and relief prints, a type of stamping using wood or linoleum.

The exhibit featured works in screen printing, which uses a woven-mesh stencil, and monoprinting, which uses ink rollers and Plexiglas stencils.

Andrea Emmons, a founding member of the Atlanta Printmakers Studio, a collection of printmakers from around metro Atlanta, said she enjoys the challenge and work that goes into the art.

"It's more tedious than painting or drawing," Emmons said. "I like the fact that you can make multiple impressions, you can make variations on a theme ... it's limitless. This is a more traditional way of doing it."

In addition to the work from the Atlanta Printmakers Studio, many local artists contributed to the "Champion Spirit" exhibit. Karen Powers, gallery manager of Arts Clayton, said the exhibit contains 34 artworks from about 20 local artists.

"This is really saluting the champion or the hero," she said. "Overcoming obstacles and winning can really be applied to many different parts of life."

The exhibit features images of triumph including the perseverance of a rural southern girl in Alabama, a tree growing out of building, and several portraits of Barack Obama. Powers said the works include paintings, photography, water-color pictures, and pottery.

"You think of winning and being a champion as a large emotion," she said. "There are a lot of large-scale works that reflect that."

To introduce printmaking to a larger audience, the Atlanta Printmakers Studio will host a printmaking workshop on April 25, from 11 a.m., to 2 p.m. The workshop is $40 for Arts Clayton members and $45 to non-members. For more information, call (770) 473-5457 or visit www.artsclayton.org.