OU Professor Wins International Printmaking Award

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Art Werger, professor of printmaking at Ohio University’s School of Art and Design, has been named a winner of the 2015 Guanlan International Print Prize as part of the exhibition at the Guanlan International Print Biennial.

The biennial, which takes place in Guanlan, China, focuses artistic and academic ability and will showcase artists from around the world.

“It’s just such an incredible honor,” said Werger, who plans to attend the exhibition opening in China, on May 12. In addition to prize money, his print, titled “Night Fall,” will take permanent residence in China’s Printmaking Museum.

Werger’s print was one of 11 winners out of more than 4,000 works submitted. Werger made the print using a color etching and aquatint method, which he considers as “the same type of work” he has been doing for 35 years. “So to receive international recognition is quite a fulfillment of all those years — not just one particular piece,” he said.

“Night Fall,” which depicts a city scene from a high angle, is part of a 30-plus year body of work Werger described as “aerial imagery.” Werger first did the linear drawing for the piece five years ago and then put it in the drawer before revisiting the project more recently. The process he uses takes about 6 months on average from start to finish.

"Night Fall," Art Werger
“Night Fall,” Art Werger

Werger, who counts legendary film director Alfred Hitchcock as a recurring influence, approaches his prints like a director might approach a film. The result is an experience that “relies on the viewer to interpret the scene and ultimately come to a conclusion.

“As you move closer, there are little stories and vignettes, which bring the viewer into play,” Werger said.

The professor attended China’s last biennial in 2013, along with his wife, Karla Hackenmiller, who also teaches printmaking at Ohio University.

Werger, who grew up in the suburbs of New York, studied illustration and painting at the Rhode Island School of Design. He has works in The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Boston Public Library, the Brooklyn Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and more than 300 corporate and private collections.