Striking Colors and Abstract Shapes At the National Museum of Women in the Arts


Chromatic Scale: Prints by Polly Apfelbaum, is now on view until July 2, 2017, at Washington’s National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA).  Ms. Apfelbaum’s unique style employs striking colors and bold abstract shapes—alternately geometric and organic—in her woodcut prints.  Chromatic Scale features ten prints, and explores her distinctive approach to the printmaking process and how it relates to her work in painting, sculpture, and installation.

The exhibit features the part of her collection that examines how the artist extends the conventional boundaries of color and technique.  “Her inventive woodblock techniques place her at the forefront of the medium.” said Curatorial Assistant Stephanie Midon, “producing dynamic prints characterized by vivid color and bold shapes.”

To make her woodblock prints, Apfelbaum improvises compositions from multiple blocks that are carved, inked, and placed individually. She works with up to hundreds of blocks at a time, methodically assigning colors to each block and intuitively arranging them in precise compositions. In her most recent prints, she has experimented with more fluid coloring and shapes, using a “rainbow roll” technique, in which multiple colors are partially mixed to achieve a continuous gradient effect.

This exhibition continues NMWA’s exploration of innovations in printmaking, a medium in which women have worked since the 16th century.

Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for visitors 65 and over and students

The National Museum of Women in the Arts is at 1250 New York Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20005   202-783-5000


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