Ann Zahn, Julie Zahn, and Sophie Schrader
January 2-26, 2020
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 11, 3-5pm
Washington Printmakers Gallery presents Light, Flight and Paper Pulp Spanning Three Generations: Ann Zahn, Julie Zahn, and Sophie Schrader.
Ann remembers there was a swing, a Mimosa tree, a gate, and a fence in her grandmother’s garden. As a child, she felt safe there, enclosed in an embrace of scents, birds and flowers. That first experience gave her an appreciation of the natural world and the feeling of how vulnerable it and the life in it is. Animals experience this feeling all the time, being constantly alert to all possibilities. Most of Ann’s artwork embodies these feelings but is also burdened with “ideas” about content and composition and the technical details of making prints, all of which enable the work to become art. For Ann, being an artist involves feeling the gravity of things, their physicality expressed by the weight of time and space – the image imbued with memories, growth, and decay, but withholding something which makes it the artist’s own personal territory.
Julie’s art is also imbued with imagery of nature, depicting birds in a variety of poses and milieus. A few years ago, learning that only native plants attract the vast numbers of insects necessary for a brood of birds to be successfully raised, Julie added as many native trees and shrubs to her garden as she could. She immediately noticed an increase in the birds that visited and/or nested, and this in turn has fed her recent work.
Sophie’s work is inspired by envisioning the future of our beautiful, tormented world. When pondering nature’s future, Sophie sees images of plastic and flash fires mangling in destruction all that lays at the heart of our precious planet. The lamps displayed in this show aim to evoke a sense of fragility and urgency. It is imperative that we recognize the immense vulnerability which we’ve forced Mother Nature to exhibit in the form of climate disasters. The gentle light which emanates from Earth glows through Sophie’s work in the form of lamps which highlight our planet’s vulnerability as humanity rapidly destroys life as prior generations have known it.
Our three-generation exhibit, Sophie’s lights, Ann’s linoleum cuts on plant-based papers, and Julie’s bird collages, has a holistic feel, as light feeds plants and plants feed birds. It also demonstrates how the depiction of nature has shifted and evolved over the course of three generations.
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Ann Zahn received a B.A. in Psychology from Duke University, followed by a master’s degree in Painting from American University in 1967. She also studied printmaking at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland for three years, from 1972-1975. Ann was a founding member of the Washington (D.C.) Printmakers Gallery and of Creative Partners Gallery in Bethesda, Maryland (now Waverly Street Gallery). She has taught courses in etching, woodcut and design variously at the University of Maryland (College Park), American University, and George Mason University (Fairfax, Virginia). Her work has been primarily done in the printmaking mediums of etching, lithography, linoleum and woodcut, both in color and in black and white. In all of her work (especially in the “100 Views of Home” and in the “Garden Journals”) the idea of developing subject matter as a personal “myth” predominates. These works “announce” the passage of time as a stream flowing and wearing me, or “it, down to a bedrock of being which will hold the contents of a life. It is an expression of the idea that the origins of art must always be in a suffered world as well as a conscious craft and that what emerges from the daily submergence is what needs to be said.
Julie Zahn is a mixed-media painter and printmaker who works with woodcut, painting/drawing and Japanese stencil dyeing (katazome). After completing the 4-year Certificate program at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Julie apprenticed with an antique screen restorer and studied Japanese stencil dyeing in Kyoto. She explores lines, edges and paint/ink densities in her mixed media work. She achieves a unique transparency by peeling the papers down to the pigment layer and applying them with wheat starch paste using a small, broom-like brush. Her latest work focuses on birds and their many poses. Julie has a studio in Philadelphia and exhibits frequently. Her work can also be seen at www.juliezahn.net.
Sophie Schrader studied printmaking at The College of Wooster. She has also been surrounded by the technical and consuming processes of printmaking her whole life. Sophie’s work focuses on the current and future disasters spanning our planet, urging viewers to reconsider their actions and rhetoric surrounding the climate crisis. She shines a light on this subject through light sculptures, created by ironing beeswax over monoprints on thin Japanese paper and manipulating them into abstract sculptures. As plastic and man-made trash consumes our Earth, Sophie’s sculptures also integrate and recycle found plastics.