Innovation meets art in joyful gallery exhibit

By Samantha Sawh

As Rider reopens its doors to students after break, the doors of the art gallery are also opening with a new exhibit inside.

The gallery’s most recent exhibit, running through April 12, is titled “The Joy of Ink and Fiber,” and is a collection of works by artist Marie Sturken.

“It’s a retrospective of her work,” said Harry Naar, director of the gallery.

Sturken, whose studio is in Princeton and who has lived in the town for many years, is 93 years old and still crafting artwork.

“She’s still enthusiastic,” Naar said. “She still creates strong, powerful and exciting images.”

Sturken started her career as an illustrator and did fashion drawings for Wanamaker’s, an early department store in Philadelphia. Now, she is a renowned papermaker and printmaker, with her pieces gracing many locations such as the Museum of Modern Art Library in New York. She also has a current exhibit at the New Jersey State Museum.

The Rider Art Gallery displays 29 pieces of Sturken’s art, ranging from as early as 1948 to as recent as 2013. The exhibit showcases her talents as an artist, including handmade paper, lithographs and etchings. The name of this exhibit is a direct reflection of Sturken’s printmaking and papermaking.

“Her art is unique,” said Hannah Morris, a senior arts administration major and an employee with auxiliary services at the art gallery. “She’s using materials and techniques in ways that create really great texture and color. You can see how fashion influenced her art, but also how she broke away from that and went for bold, intense and vivid artwork.”

Etching, a form of printmaking, is done as an artist uses a metal needle to draw an image on a surface, such as wood or metal. The lines then are filled with ink and the work is pressed onto paper, thus resulting in the desired image. Lithographs are images produced on stones, which are then inked. Sturken’s handmade paper is produced at Dieu Donné Papermill in New York.

The artist’s talk, when Sturken will be present and interviewed by Naar, will be held on March 26 at 7 p.m. This is also an opportunity for students to ask Sturken about her art, talents and experiences.

“In terms of this show, the art spans over 50 years of this artist’s work,” Morris said. “The artwork is cool, colorful and sometimes confusing, which is why people should attend the artist’s talk and learn more about the process of creating art. It’s quite inspiring because there is so much to learn from Sturken’s experience as an artist that can translate into any young professional’s journey.”

“You get to hear what the artist really has to say about her work,” Naar said. “We have people from all walks of life coming to the gallery. It’s a really good situation to allow students to experience.”

“The Joy of Ink and Fiber” is a creative, diverse walk through the different art methods, as well as a journey through the years and life of one particularly talented artist. This exhibit is another step that Rider takes toward sharing art and its importance with a wide array of students and visitors.

“I see the art gallery as a really, really important venue for not only bringing art here, but also as an important classroom,” Naar said. “I think college is a place to experience things, and I think art is really important here at Rider because art is so important for enriching one’s life.”

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