Gallery Talk by Printmaker
Katja Oxman

Click image to enlarge.

April 1, 2014

Rachel Rogol, 413-542-2295


Amherst, MA - The Mead Art Museum at Amherst College is pleased to announce the upcoming "Closer Look" gallery talk by printmaker Katja Oxman on Friday, April 4, at 4:30 p.m. Her talk and the reception that follows are free and open to the public.


Oxman will speak about her two prints currently on display at the Mead, In Yellow Hewn and the triptych Sound of Water Over Rock (pictured above). She will discuss the technical details of how she creates her unique, richly colored still-life etchings and aquatints.


"Both works on view are the result of Katja's brilliantly executed three-plate aquatint process. Using only three primary colors, she almost magically renders a broad range of both realistic and startling chromatic effects," said Mila Waldman, the study room supervisor who oversees master prints at the Mead. "Both are also characteristic of her still-life compositions, made up of postcards of paintings, personal memorabilia, and plants, often orchids, contemplatively arranged on patterned rug surfaces."


Oxman often gives literary titles to her works. "Sound of water over rock" comes from T.S. Eliot's Waste Land ("If there were the sound of water only, / . . . sound of water over a rock"), and "In yellow hewn" is taken from Emily Dickinson ("Of Yellow was the outer Sky / In Yellower Yellow Hewn").  


"Dazzling," "lush," and "luxuriant" are words often used to describe Oxman's prints. They've also been accurately called "still-life print collages." It's an aesthetic Oxman began to develop in the late 1970s when, during a yearlong leave of absence spent caring for her newborn son, she was drawn to the arrangement and color of baby toys strewn across an Oriental rug.  


Born Katja Protassowsky in Munich, Germany, during World War II, Oxman moved to the United States at age nine. She studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich, and the Royal College of Art in London.  


Oxman and her husband, sculptor Mark Oxman, held various teaching posts at colleges on the East Coast in the 1960s and '70s. For 30 years they lived in Silver Springs, Maryland, just outside Washington, DC, where Oxman taught for nearly a decade at American University. Her works have been included in dozens of solo and group shows in and around Washington, as well as around the country. Seven years ago she and her husband moved to Amherst, Massachusetts, where for several years in the early to mid-1970s they had taught at Amherst College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Oxman has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards. Her works are held in public collections across the United States, and she's a featured artist in the US Department of State's Art in Embassies (AIE) program.  


Oxman's prints are on view at the Mead as part of the spring exhibition New Arrivals: Modern & Contemporary Additions to the Collection, which runs through June 29. Gallery talks in the series "A Closer Look" are given the first Friday of every month.   


The Mead Art Museum houses the art collection of Amherst College, spanning 5,000 years and encompassing the creative achievements of many world cultures. An accredited member of the American Association of Museums, the Mead participates in Museums10, a regional cultural collaboration. The museum and its gift shop-café are open year-round Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. The museum offers extended hours during the academic term, staying open until midnight on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday.  

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