Print exhibit shows artistic variety
"Bears in Block," by Roberta Malkin
‘The Fine Art of Printmaking’
Oak Park Art League at Prairie Title Services, Inc., 6821 W. North Ave., Oak Park
Through Jan. 10
(708) 386-9853 or visit email@example.com
Updated: December 6, 2011 9:18PM
Some artists are spontaneous. Others are slow and methodical. Is there a “right” way to make a work of art? Well, the proof is in the pudding or, in this case, the final art product.
Ginny Pitre-Hay thinks long and hard as she sketches out preliminary images for a painting. Her friend, Roberta Malkin, works more quickly. When they get together to make art, they are a study in opposites.
“I’m a planner,” said Oak Park artist Pitre-Hay. “I’m still working on my sketch while Roberta has finished her painting.”
Malkin, a resident of Lincolnwood, approaches her work intuitively. “When I work, there’s no preplanning. It’s very fast. I make a stroke and it works. I’m free-handing and reinterpreting at the same time. It all comes from here,” she explained, pointing to her heart.
Both artists are members of the Oak Park Art League and both also are part of a group show called “The Fine Art of Printmaking” in the Oak Park offices of Prairie Title Services, Inc.
In addition to Pitre-Hay and Malkin, featured artists include: Max Bjornson (Xerox prints), Judy Edelman (monoprints), Simon Gallo (screen prints), Mary Beth Miller Lies (linocuts), Marcia Palazzolo (linocuts and woodcuts), Sandra Reibschied (linoprints), Keith Taylor (lithographs, intaglio/etchings and digital prints) and Ken Reif (linoleum block prints).
For more than four years now, the Oak Park Art League has sponsored ongoing exhibitions of work by its members every two months at Prairie Title. Usually, these shows showcase the work of four artists in four separate rooms, but this time a larger selection of artists is being offered.
“I got a nice show of small paintings at Prairie Title in the spring of 2009,” recalled Pitre-Hay. “Then, about a year ago, the League asked me to take over the curating duties for these shows. I cooked up the idea with another League member, Larry Kolden, of doing an all-print show. I knew a lot of the artists — like Ken Reif, who is president of the Art League, and Simon Gallo, a young artist who teaches at the League — because they are members.
“But one artist, Judy Edelman, is not a member,” she continued. “I wanted variety and that’s why I included Judy who does monoprints. Roberta knows Judy and she recommended her.”
Before retiring, Malkin spent her career as an elementary school art teacher, which might explain why she is versatile and accomplished in many different mediums, particularly in painting and sculpture. And because making art has become almost second nature to her, it might explain why she prefers a more spontaneous approach.
Before becoming a full-time artist, Pitre-Hay was employed as a graphic designer for most of her career. Graphic design, being a more studied and exacting profession, could account for her taking a more studied and exacting approach to painting and printmaking.
See for yourself
But again, which approach is better?
If one is to judge by accomplishments, one need only look to the recent Oak Park Art League’s 2011 National Juried Exhibition that just came down on Nov. 18. The juror for that prestigious show was former University of Chicago professor David M. Sokol. Among a pool of artist applicants from around the country, very few Art League members made the final cut, yet Sokol selected both Malkin and Pitre-Hay to participate in that exhibition.
So, the answer to our question is: neither. And both. Because the proofs are obviously in both puddings.