ART: Where politics fails, art prevails

ART • BY DARLENE REYES

The Washington Printmakers Gallery (WPG) is currently holding Ex Libris, an Exhibition of Prints by Chinese Artists.

The exhibition features 180 prints, all by artists in and around Shanghai. Running alongside the Chinese prints exhibition, in the side gallery, is a membership exhibition, which features several local artists.

The exhibition came about after the success of Washington Printmakers Gallery’s first international exhibit featuring British Wood Engravers last year, according to Annie Newman, Director of Washington Printmakers Gallery.

After the success of the exhibit featuring British Wood Engravers, WPG decided to capitalize on the international connections of the gallery and its members. Several artists in Shanghai approached WPG member Rosemary Cooley about a collaborative show and WPG began preparing an exchange exhibition with American works going to China and Chinese works coming to Silver Spring, according to Newman.

“Recent current events have been strained between the U.S. and China—think about the reports on Ai Wei Wei or Chen Guancheng.  I think this show is particularly pivotal to not only the local community but the two countries as well, as it shows a positive example of U.S.-China relations.  Whatever the two countries might be doing, their peoples have more in common than they do differences,” remarked Newman.

WPG’s current exhibition of American art in downtown Shanghai is the largest exhibition of American art in China to date. The Chinese prints exhibit in Silver Spring brings together traditional and contemporary art that provides a new experience for Montgomery County residents.

“Printmaking, in general, is a democratizing art form.  The editions of multiples allow for lower prices and more circulation of original works.  This could not be more true than for this show—we have beautiful, original woodcuts, engravings, and silkscreens starting at $30 per print,” explained Newman, on the importance of printmaking.

WPG hopes that those who visit the exhibition come away with a greater appreciation for international art and collaboration. It has plans to do future international collaborations, but nothing is finalized yet.

The Washington Printmaker Gallery is located at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, 8230 Georgia Ave. Silver Spring, MD 20910. For more information, visit the Washington Printmaker’s website.