October 27, 2011
Removing an impression that had just been printed by a steamroller supplied by Bogner Construction Company are (from left) Anecia Partridge, a first-year student from Columbus, Ohio; Emily Timmerman, a junior from Arlington, Vt.; and Marina Mangubi, associate professor of art and chair of the art and art history department at The College of Wooster.
WOOSTER, Ohio — A group of art students at The College of Wooster made quite an impression — several, in fact — outside of Ebert Art Center earlier this month. The students — 11 from Emily Sullivan’s printmaking class and two who worked independently with Marina Mangubi — created four 3 ft. x 6 ft. relief prints and two 2 ft. x 3 ft. impressions illustrating their valuation of diversity as part of an event sponsored by Embracing Our Differences Ohio.
The images, which had been chiseled into blocks of Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) by students during the past few weeks, were inked and covered with Japanese paper (Okawara) for the first run and Muslin fabric for the second run before being pressed by a 12-ton steamroller courtesy of Bogner Construction Company.
“Dropping a three-by-six foot sheet of paper (or fabric) onto an inked block required six pairs of hands moving with meticulous precision and coordination,” said Mangubi, associate professor of art and chair of the art and art history department at Wooster. “After that, a strip of carpet padding was placed over the paper or fabric to cushion the drum and distribute the pressure. Then, the steamroller was driven over the block, simulating the effect of a printing press. Wooster is unique among liberal arts colleges in having attempted steamroller printing and succeeded at it.”
Following the printing, Mangubi guided the students as the paper (and later the fabric) was carefully removed from the blocks. “Things went very well,” she said. “There’s a lot of work that goes into setting up a collaborative project like this. Everyone worked very well in concert.”
Sullivan concurred. “The prints turned out very well,” she said. “It’s always an exciting moment when the paper or fabric is removed and the artist knows it is a success.”
Among the finished products was a collaboration between Sara-Beth Loder, a senior chemical physics major and studio art minor from Chardon, Ohio, and Karin Barend, a junior studio art major and anthropology minor from Wooster, that addressed the diversity of alternative energy options. The print featured a futuristic scientist holding an almost empty beaker indicating that there is a long way to go to meet the world’s energy demands. ”It was exciting to be a part of this,” said Loder. “It was a big project, and we feel like we actually accomplished something.”
Another student, Maria Janasz, a sophomore studio art major from Minneapolis, chiseled the upper third of a skeleton with designs etched into the area surrounding the bony structure. Upon closer inspection, illustrations of small countries could be found on the image, with Australia making up one of the skeleton’s shoulders and India making up the other. Maggie Roberts, a junior studio art major from Sewickley, Pa., and Ann Lewis, a senior studio art major from Wexford, Pa., carved the lower two sections of the block.
After the prints were lifted from the MDF board, they were taken to the MacKenzie Gallery to dry. The muslin prints will be given to Embracing our Differences Ohio for use in traveling displays in the coming year, and committee member Cally King is anxious to share the works with others. “I’m thrilled with the artistic accomplishment,” she said. “I can tell from the artwork that the students really embraced the challenge.”
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