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Dordt College News

Art reception September 7

August 31, 2006

Art Reception

Dordt College will host a public reception and art gallery talk at the Campus Center Art Gallery on Thursday, Sept. 7, at 3:30 p.m. Professor Jacob Van Wyk will discuss the prints on display and the process of stone lithography, and then demonstrate the use of a stone and the printing press.

The reception is for an exhibit which concludes Sept. 15, featuring lithographs by Marc Chagall and lithographic work done by area artists and students. Also on display are prints by major 19th and 20th century artists, including Harold Keeler, James McNeil Whistler, Salvador Dali, and Alberto Giacometti. These prints are on loan from the Rod Harris Fine Art Collection, Fallbrook, CA.

The art exhibition and the lithographic workshop at which several of the prints were created were organized by Jacob Van Wyk, Dordt College art professor and specialist in the medium of stone lithography. Van Wyk has several of his own multi-color lithographs included in the exhibit.

“The Jerusalem Windows” by Marc Chagall are color lithographs of the original 12 tribes of Israel. The lithographs were later executed in stained glass for a synagogue near Jerusalem. Based on Old Testament texts, as many as 20 lithographic stones were used to produce the richly colored prints featured in this display. Chagall was a major artist and a prolific printmaker of the 20th Century, producing as many as a thousand prints with imagery from his childhood growing up in a small village as a Russian Orthodox Jew. Biblical themes and rural metaphors are characteristic of Chagall, who became an exile from Nazi-occupied France after receiving an invitation to come to the U.S. from the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The oldest print in the Dordt gallery display is an intaglio etching by James McNeil Whistler from 1855. Whistler was a world renowned painter and accomplished printmaker, who believed that painting should exist for its own sake, not to convey literary or moral ideas. He often gave his pictures musical titles to suggest an analogy with the abstract art of music. Whistler also became infamous with his revolutionary ideas and public debates on the emphasis of abstraction in art and personal flamboyance.

Salvador Dali produced some of the most iconic and controversial images of the 20th century, from crucifixions to nightmarish landscapes. Dali was a major figure in the 20th century surrealist movement based on the theories of the psychologist Dr. Sigmund Freud and André Bretón. Dali’s 1944 dry point engraving in the exhibit presents a Freudian view of life at the height of World War II.

Harold Keeler was a west coast landscape painter who produced the lithograph “Iowa Storm” which was likely printed in the late 1930s under the direction of Iowa’s Grant Wood.

Lithographs by area artists were completed at a Dordt College workshop last fall, with participants using 20 stones recently acquired from Morningside College. These unique stones were mined in only one place in the world: Bavaria, Germany. Lithographic stones were the standard of commercial printing until aluminum plates on press drums were introduced in 1900.
Original printing images from Iowa and South Dakota in the 1800s can still be seen on some of these lithographic stones, on display for viewing. Details of the printing process and a Dordt printing press are included in the display. The press was made by Nelson Wynia, a local Sioux Center machinist.

Anyone attending the exhibit may draw on a sampling of the stones to experience the unique lithographic process. Periodically, the stones will be printed and gallery visitors can come back to see their own printed lithographs.

The Dordt Campus Center Art Gallery is open every day from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. There is no charge to view the exhibit.

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