Printmaking: Leaving an impression at SRJC

Rebecca Dominguez, Staff Writer

The new Robert F. Agrella Art Gallery exhibit “30 Years Of SRJC Printmaking” showcases works by Kevin G. Fletcher to mark his retirement from the Santa Rosa Junior College art teaching staff.

It also includes various prints from a number of SRJC faculty members and celebrates teaching printmaking for 30 years at SRJC.

When first entering the gallery, viewers see Fletcher’s personal collection of historical examples of various types of printmaking techniques, including a piece from the 1500s by artist Albrecht Durer, one of the first to guide printmaking into an independent art form. After moving into the second room, viewers are able to look at works from 13 different faculty and staff members. Angelica Blancas-Mims, 19, a gallery worker, said, “The show is just a combination of all different types of prints from etching, woodblock carving, linocuts, to monoprints.”

Not only are the pieces themselves interesting but the work that goes into a single piece is intricate and fascinating. “With prints you have to think in reverse, you can’t just think of the way you want it because they print in reverse,” Blancas-Mims said. The process is different depending on what type of print is created. If it’s a woodblock carving, Blancas-Mims said, you have a block of wood and carve into it, but if it’s an etching you draw on a metal plate that is covered with a black coating using a scriber, which is essentially a metal pen.

Many of Fletcher’s pieces are monotypes, a process of drawing or painting on a metal or glass plate and then pulling the image by pressing the plate to paper and transferring the ink. Monotypes are unique because the image can only be transferred about twice whereas other types can be done numerous times. The pieces are intricate, detailed and although they look as if they are drawn by pencil, they are very clean.

SRJC student Damien Jones, 19, said, “It’s very straight. It’s not like sketchy or anything.”

William Smith’s linocuts were well-liked by viewers. All except one were black and white and the detail was astonishing, especially after learning that each piece has to be cut in reverse.

“It has a lot of detail and it emphasizes a lot of things we see in our daily lives,” said SRJC student Cesar Santiago of William Smith’s print “Perfecting Catastrophe.”

Every piece is likeable, whether it’s the color, the technique, or the composition. Esther Vega, 21, said, “There are some that have really good etching strategy and they blend it, and put it all together.”

The show can expand the way people think of art and how they utilize it. “I have never actually done something like the ones that have mixed media. I’ve always stuck to just pencil, or one single thing, but I’m actually going to try this soon,” Vega said.

The gallery show will be open until March 12, with a gallery talk from noon to 1 p.m. on Feb. 26 by Kevin Fletcher. The gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 1-4 p.m. on Saturdays on the first floor of the Doyle Library.