Three women bring art together at Library

It will be a full house at the Hood River County Library during September and October as three Hood River artists combine their efforts to present two complete art shows.

Sorcha Meek, Rose Szapszewicz, and Shelley Smith all rent studio space at the Alpinee Hut on Tucker Road, where they share the use of a large printing press and other printmaking equipment.

All three women are experienced artists. Otherwise, they lead very different lives -- Meek being a professional artist, Szapszewicz an acupuncturist, and Smith a physician.

"Art is what brought us all together," said Meek.

She has a BA in Visual Communication and studied in Florence, Italy, for almost two years at the Art Institute of Florence. In addition to her printmaking, she creates large oil paintings focusing on the human figure. She shows her work at the Portland Art Museum's Renaissance Gallery as well at the Columbia Art Gallery in Hood River. On Nov. 17 she will host an all day etching workshop at the Alpinee Hut through the Hood River Community Education Department.

Szapszewicz studied for two years at the Pratt Institute and received her BFA from Cooper Union in New York City. Some of her work is presently on display at the Columbia Art Gallery. Referring to her career in acupuncture, she said, "Chinese medicine is not so different from art. It, too, is an art form.

Shelley Smith has no formal training in art, and began printmaking intensively last January when she acquired studio space at the Alpinee Hut. Previously, she has worked extensively in textiles and paper cutting and is also an experienced house designer.

"Printmaking is creating in yet another form for me," she said. "I am driven to do art. The asthetics of things interests me, and I love experimenting with color, form, and pattern."

Smith shows her work at the Columbia Art Gallery.

The three artists made quite a sweep of the most recent Hail Mid-Columbia Art Show. Szapszewicz won first prize, Meek walked away with the Grumbacher Gold Medal award, and Smith created the only piece of art which sold on the show's opening night.

The Alpinee Search and Rescue group was founded by Jack Baldwin, who designed the club's attractive lodge near the Hood River airport. Over the years, many of the original Alpinees have either died or moved away, and the organization found it financially advisable to rent out some of the space.

"You have no idea how rare it is to have a studiio like this in a town like this," said Szapszewicz.

The work displayed at the library will be primarily one-of-a-kind prints, although Szapszewicz may show some of her acrylic landscapes as well. All of the art shown will be contemporary and colorful. While Meek and Szapszewicz employ some images from nature in their semi-abstract prints, Smith's prints are truly abstract with a focus on color, form, and repeating patterns.

The first show opened on Aug. 30 and runs through September. In October the artists will bring in another assortment of their works.

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