January 30 – February 22, 2020
Artist Reception: February 1, 2020 from 3-5 PM
From her art student days on, Lila Oliver Asher has been making pictures of musicians. This exhibit gathers together music themed prints made throughout her long career. Asher is known for the fluid use of line and the graceful arrangement of human figures in her work. In these linocuts, she uses those techniques and sometimes multiple images to portray the experience of watching and listening to musicians performing. The prints have movement and color, as well as Asher’s characteristic touches of humor and deep respect for the people in her work.
Born in 1921, Lila Asher studied to be a portrait painter. However her experience during World War II, when she was a USO artist who sketched portraits of more than three thousand patients in military hospitals “somehow satisfied or cooled that desire.”
After World War II, Asher taught at Howard University, where she encountered printmaking. She became known for her linoleum cut prints, which show her deep interest in human relations, with images of children, families and lovers, as well as Greek myths and Bible stories. As one critic wrote, “Asher has the consummate illustrator’s gift for seizing the proper moment, gesture and form with which to depict a particular theme or idea.”
Asher’s prints all show her fascination with line. Another critic noted that “Asher has built her entire career in art upon the firm foundation of line. We are all the beneficiaries of that …. Our eye follows her line and hears its music, even cues us to join the chorus.”
Lila Asher’s work has been exhibited widely and is held in numerous permanent collections, including the National Museum of American Art and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. In 2016, she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Arts and Humanities by Montgomery County Executive.