Oregon Magazine, December 1984
Drawing on quite different artistic visions but employing similar art-making methods, two Oregon printmakers are earning national attention with their ability to convey colorful images in multiples. The two-or rather three, since one "artist" is really a husband-and-wife team-belong to a growing school of Northwest printmakers who are elevating poster-like images to the rank of fine art.
Lyn and Steven Nance-Sasser create sometimes stylized, sometimes whimsi-cal, designs under their ART-sparks label. They are best known nationally for the "Jazzcat" image that pianist Tom Grant saw in their studio and used for a recent album cover. Their flair for capturing
the spirit of a place or event on a sheet of poster paper has brought them numerous commissions-ranging from Artquake to the Cascade Run-Off to the Washington Park Zoo. Their latest commission, for Salishan Lodge, will use quieter hues than those that have marked their previous works. And, in another departure, it will be a horizontal design to better convey the spirit of the sprawling coastal resort. Both Oregon natives, they enjoy the chance to promote the offerings of their home state through their poster artistry. But they reserve about half of their studio time to work on fine art silkscreened prints.
Sara Harwin's images spring, full of life, from rich, ethnic traditions. Her symmetrical compositions, printed as limited edition serigraphs, favor bright, primary colors with repeating patterns. Jewish traditions inspire many works, such as "Shabbat Shalom" and "Pesach," both encircled with Hebrew lettering. Her works evoke a sense of celebration and festival.
The Nance-Sassers and Harwin take their own designs all the way from the drawing board to the printing press. "We continue to design even while printing," notes Steven Nance-Sasser. And that's the attention that he believes marks a "true print, not just a machine-made poster that you'd put up with thumbtacks."
ARTsparks prints are available at the Portland Art Museum sales gallery, the Lawrence Gallery at Salishan or directly from the Nance-Sassers' Northeast Portland studio. Harwin's limited editions are available from her Southwest Portland studio.
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