Artist provides colorful prints for winter

Block printmaking installment comes to WSU for the season

Artwork+displayed+in+the+WSU+Schnitzer+Art+Museum+on+Aug.+29%2C+created+by+Polly+Apfelbaum.
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Artist provides colorful prints for winter

Artwork displayed in the WSU Schnitzer Art Museum on Aug. 29, created by Polly Apfelbaum.

Artwork displayed in the WSU Schnitzer Art Museum on Aug. 29, created by Polly Apfelbaum.

REBECCA TAKACS | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Artwork displayed in the WSU Schnitzer Art Museum on Aug. 29, created by Polly Apfelbaum.

REBECCA TAKACS | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

REBECCA TAKACS | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Artwork displayed in the WSU Schnitzer Art Museum on Aug. 29, created by Polly Apfelbaum.

MADYSEN MCLAIN, Evergreen reporter

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Polly Apfelbaum sparked her passion for art at a young age and has since created hundreds of pieces using several types of mediums. Her prints, created from woodblock printing, are now on display at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.

Primarily known for her installation work, Apfelbaum makes the art specific to the space whether it’s on walls or floors, said Ryan Hardesty, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art curator of exhibitions and collections.

Apfelbaum has also worked with textiles and clay.

“When we first started discussing ideas around the exhibition, Polly wanted to make sure her prints were the focus of the show, and that we didn’t try to combine her other genres or other mediums that she works,” Hardesty said.

Conversations about an exhibit started around a year ago, but the plans did not get serious until about 10 months ago, he said.

Hardesty worked closely with Apfelbaum to refine the project.

“It’s a lot of emails, phone conversations, and it’s also sharing designs,” he said. “It’s definitely a two-way conversation. It’s a collaborative project.”

Apfelbaum, who is a New York City resident, said she is constantly talking to herself to brainstorm ideas for the next piece she could create.

“I’m a hybrid because I love to work with all sorts of things,” she said. “There’s abstract and narrative, and it’s not just one material.”

Apfelbaum has about 60 solo exhibits worldwide, according to the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art website.

She has made prints for the last 20 years on the same printing press, which is unusual for an artist, Apfelbaum said.

Along with a team of people in New York at Durham Press she uses use a wood print hydraulic press or an etching press, she said. Sometimes it takes the help of up to 10 people to lay out the color and shape of the woodblocks. After all the desired blocks are laid in a design, the press creates the print, Apfelbaum said.

She said she drew inspiration for her most recent works during her time in Italy for a fellowship.

“As someone who lives in a world of pop culture, it was nice to transport myself into another time,” Apfelbaum said. “The angels, religious painters and chapels created a secular and spiritual aesthetic.”

The new exhibit was brought in to benefit the printmaking classes. The vibrant prints are to help with suicide prevention as the snowy and dark months approach, Debby Stinson, marketing and public relations manager, said.

“The museum is trying to fulfill that mission of making sure our students have access to part of the highest caliber and artists working in this global environment,” Hardesty said.

Hardesty said the exhibit is the first to use four galleries in the museum.

“I’ve been around printmaking processes for years and this particular show, I was completely blown away,” Stinson said. “They look like a beautiful puzzle.”

Jordan Schnitzer, art collector who lent Apfelbaum’s work to the museum, first saw Apfelbaum’s work when he was visiting with a director of an art center.

“Art became second nature to me,” he said. “Waking up without art around me would be like waking up without the sun.”

Schnitzer said he did not know anything about the artist, but he bought a piece after first seeing the work.

“I saw some of the newer work she’s been doing the last 10 to 15 years. I just started to find one new piece after another,” Schnitzer said.

The public can access the exhibit for free until March 14, 2020 in the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.