Clare Romano and John Ross are major figures in the world of printmaking as both artists and educators, with independent voices that share subject focus. Their target is structure, and their language is line, color and space.
Ross’ 1984 master collagraph ”Homage to the City,” a 30” x 67” triptych printed to the very edge on black paper, shows the artist’s clear devotion and appreciation for the clean lines and minimal expression of architectural design. It’s a layered and complicated work. Alternately, we have the bold, colorful figurative work by Romano, equally as complex: “On the Grass,” another collagraph, is one of two beach scenes along with “On the Blanket,” 1978,depicting anatomy from an odd perspective arranged in a jigsaw puzzle manner. Romano achieves a strong representation that is about shape and space; like Ross, she’s communicating object bulk, but from a very
different stylistic viewpoint.
As influential educators and art historians, and married since 1943, the still-active Romano and Ross have
co-authored and published a number of well-known books that continue to serve as indispensable training manuals. The most important, “The Complete Printmaker,” first published by Macmillan in 1972, has been updated and reprinted continually over the past 40 years.
Critical to the process of training printmakers are gallery exhibitions of prominent innovators of the genre, such as distinguished masters like Romano and Ross.
Artist Paul DeRuvo is a wonderful example of the training being done at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking (CCP). He arrived at CCP at age 14 as an intern/apprentice, determined to learn the artistry and complex craft of printmaking. A decade later, he is the center’s associate printer and studio assistant and an integral member of the staff, with a deep passion for and understanding of printmaking’s variable methods and precise technologies.
He and staff master printer Christopher Shore, who also serves as CCP’s curator of exhibitions, partner with many printmakers seeking to utilize its studio spaces and equipment and benefit from the staff’s technical expertise.
In its workshop print studios, artists create work for both the commercial market and exhibition platforms — as did Romano and Ross — always directed by a fine art perspective and grounded by the process of workmanship exactness and originality. DeRuvo talked about making impressions that are deliberate based on choice decisions and not governed by procedural limitations or lack of experience or technological knowledge; an intimate knowing of material physical properties as well as how tools function along with attention to the minutia of quality differences is critical, as “learning the craft allows an artist to harness the incredible range of marks,” he said.
J. Fatima Martins