by Barbara Gautcher
What is it that creates "Borders and Boundaries" in peoples’ lives?
That is the theme explored in an exhibit of linocuts and mixed media on display Oct. 14 – Nov. 3 in the third floor art gallery at Eastern Mennonite University.
The artist, Barbara Gautcher, teaches art and is art coordinator at Eastern Mennonite High Shool.
An opening reception for the artist will be held 2:30-4 p.m. Oct. 14 in the gallery as part of EMU’s homecoming weekend.
Gautcher says the initial idea for her printmaking project came during a sabbatical time she spent in Romania.
"Every house was surrounded by high fences and gates, some elaborate, some simply wooden branches woven into wire," she says. "Since it was mid-winter and snowing every day, I felt the fences were keeping people out. On reflection, they also protected what was within."
Reflections on the Berlin Wall
Last summer, she spent time in Berlin, listening to first-hand stories of the Berlin wall being built and of lives being separated, walking the boundary of the wall and experiencing the aftermath of the fall of the wall.
Other works in her exhibit are simple boundaries: the edges of gardens, the beginning of woods, the edge of the EMHS campus.
Gautcher’s technique is fairly simple. She spends much time drawing, keeping sketchbooks, taking photos and recording images from the spoken and written word. From these inspirations, she makes a value drawing, transfers it to linoleum (backwards), cuts out the areas that are to remain white and leaves the areas that are to be inked.
She pulls a proof and uses that as the base for the monotype. She paints on a glass or acrylic sheet the areas that are to have color, prints that on a clean piece of damp printmaking paper and then re-prints the linocut onto the surface of the monotype.
"Though the linocut is always the same, the monotype is always one of a kind," she notes. "I rarely make more than five linocut/monotypes of each image."
Gautcher has taught at EMHS since 1985 and also taught 2002-05 in the summer art program at James Madison University. She earned a B.A. degree in fine arts from Bridgewater (VA) College and an M.F.A. degree in art education at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore.
The exhibit will be open daily during regular library hours through Nov. 3. Admission is free.