Lederer art exhibit displayed in Hege library

“Sylvettes and the Fish” by Karen Lederer//Photo By: Kathryn Hurst/The Guilfordian

The work of painter and printmaker Karen Lederer has been on exhibit at Guilford’s Art Gallery, which is located in Hege Library, since Friday, Jan. 11 and will remain on exhibit until Friday, March 1.

The combined efforts of Art Gallery Curator and Director Terry Hammond, Visiting Professor for Art Katy Collier and sponsors, the Center for Principled Problem Solving, the Art Department and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, made this exhibition possible. Lederer will be visiting Guilford’s campus on Thursday, Feb. 21 and Friday, Feb. 22.

Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Lederer earned her BFA in printmaking and drawing from Washington University in St. Louis, and her MFA in printmaking from Rhode Island School of Design in 2012.

Lederer expressed her excitement for this particular exhibition, “Table Top: Prints and Drawings.”

“The inspiration for the exhibition was my printmaking work,” Lederer said. “I usually exhibit my paintings, and this is the first time so many of my prints have been shown in the same place. I am thrilled to be able to see them in one room.”

Lederer sets her artwork apart by incorporating other artists into her pieces.

“I’m always interested in how artists influence one another,” Lederer said. “Matisse and Picasso learned from one another’s works their whole careers. I feel it’s important to highlight the constant presence of art history.”

Sophomore Emma Sarver was intrigued by Lederer’s inspiration from art history.

“I think it is really neat how Lederer’s style seems to be influenced by past artists … yet she has added a funky, contemporary twist,” Sarver said. “I am also in love with the vibrant colors in her work … it is always refreshing to see an artist who does not seem to have trouble making art that is simply enjoyable to the eyes … As someone who is inherently attracted to beauty, Karen’s work is very moving.”

Collier similarly sees Lederer’s dialogue with art history as significant.

“A lot of (Lederer’s) stuff has Matisse in them, or Picasso,” Collier said. “I think that’s interesting too because she’s a woman printmaker, not a male painter, so she’s kind of flipping that a little bit.”

As far as being a woman in the art community, Lederer is aware of the influence this can bring.

“I have many great friendships with female artists, and I think that gives us all the confidence to push forward,” Lederer said. “In my paintings, I try to highlight the female perspective.”

With all of Lederer’s uniqueness and qualifications as an artist, community members are hopeful about her upcoming visit to campus. Her visit will be highlighted with events open to Guilford community members, including a printmaking demonstration and poster-making event with Free Press and Lederer from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Feb. 22.

As part of the Art Department, Collier expressed her hopes for the event, emphasizing Lederer’s work with printmaking.

“She (Lederer) just works in a really unique way,” Collier said. “She does printmaking as a warm-up, and almost as sketching. Most people work opposite, they’re like, ‘I’m a painter, but I’ll do a print,’ and then they’ll make a print that looks like a painting. That’s sort of been the tradition in fine art for a long time.

“There’s been this tradition where printmaking is sort of a lower thing almost, but she kind of treats it as this generative practice, and I think that’s a very useful way of thinking about printmaking. It can be a tool for whatever you want it to be. It doesn’t have to be this really strict thing that a lot of people make it.”

At the Free Press event, participants will have the opportunity to see Lederer’s artistic process up close. In addition, those in attendance will be able to screen print Lederer’s design onto posters to take home.

Students in the art department, including Sarver, are excited about the opportunities that will come with Lederer’s scheduled demo.

“I hope to take away from Lederer and her work knowledge about what it means to become a working artist,” Sarver said. “While I am very excited about the actual demonstrations and hands-on projects she’s going to show us, I also want to know more about how she got to where she is, and what it means to make it in the art world.”

Lederer is also hopeful about her visit.

“I always love working with students,” Lederer said. “It’s interesting to see how different print studios are set up and what techniques have been developed. I’m looking forward to teaching the students more about monoprinting and can’t wait to see the work they’ve been making in their studios.”

Following Lederer’s demonstration with Free Press, an official gallery opening reception will be held on Feb. 22 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Lederer will speak and give a tour of her work on exhibition from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m., and refreshments will be served as community members view her artwork independently from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Hammond expressed her hopes for the gallery event, discussing the power of viewing artwork in similar community events.

“I aim to serve both the Guilford campus community and visitors from the region,” Hammond said. “Viewing art, in general, can improve one’s spirits and foster creativity and empathy. Just from looking at her work and seeing some of the quirky points of view and juxtapositions of objects she portrays, I think she’s going to be fun and lively presenter.”

Hammond, Collier and Lederer look forward to seeing many community members in attendance and participation of the events designed for Guilford students, staff and faculty members to experience Lederer’s work on a deeper level of engagement.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to learn from artists who are making a living producing work,” Hammond said. “I think it’s important to have different kinds of encounters: meals and informal conversations, in addition to the gallery talk and teaching demos.”