WMU News

Exhibit features Emily Dickinson inspired wood engravings

Jan. 16, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- A selection of wood engravings by Chicago artist Judith Jaidinger is being featured in a special exhibit in the third floor lobby showcases of Waldo Library at Western Michigan University.

Sponsored by the WMU Department of Art and the library's Special Collections division, the exhibit runs through Jan. 31.

Titles for the prints in the Jaidinger exhibit are from lines, often the first line, of poems by Emily Dickinson. Also included are three prints that reference Dickinson. The poems and prints are displayed side by side along with additional didactic materials and poetry books from the Women's Poetry Collection.

Jaidinger studied wood engraving under Adrian Troy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, receiving the B.F.A. in 1970. During the late 1960s and early '70s, she worked as a wood engraver first at the Sander Wood Engraving Company and later at the Zacher Wood Engraving Company, both in Chicago.

"I consider myself fortunate to have become interested in wood engraving at a time when wood engraving was still employed in advertising art, albeit at the end of its commercial life in the United States," she says. "Not only did I learn the craft of wood engraving from some of the last of the master engravers, but I also benefited from their generous gifts of tools, equipment and wood blocks when they retired.

"After being forced to leave my engraving job when the work dried up, I took a position in a small job print shop where I learned the printing techniques I use today to print my wood blocks. When a slow economy forced me to find other work, I went into the family electrical switch and relay business started by my father. I now run the business with my brother and do my wood engraving after I've finished my 'real' work for the day," says Jaidinger.

While still a student, she began exhibiting locally and has since exhibited extensively in juried and invitational exhibitions both in the United States and abroad. Her work is owned by The National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Illinois State Museum, Springfield; Portland Art Museum, Oregon; State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, Honolulu; and the Ukraine Independent Museum of Contemporary Art, Lvov; among others. She is a member of The Boston Printmakers; The Albany Print Club; The Society of American Graphic Artists; The Society of Wood Engravers; and in 2003, is being advanced from Associate to Fellow in the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers.

The regular hours for Waldo Library are Monday through Thursday, 7:45 a.m. to midnight; Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, noon to midnight. For additional information, contact the Department of Art Exhibitions Office at 269 387-2455.

Media contact: Jackie Ruttinger, 269 387-2455, jacquelyn.ruttinger@wmich.edu

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