International printmaster shares printing techniques

As a student or even as an artist, the chance to work alongside a master artist is a rare opportunity. Through the Visiting Artist and Lecture Series, The Contemporary Art Gallery allowed students at Southeastern to do just that.

Xenia Fedorchenko, a master printmaker, visited the university and conducted a printmaking workshop from Monday, Oct. 24 to Friday, Oct. 28. She worked with and taught students throughout the process of creating a print for the Southeastern art collection.

“The students sort of learn the basic techniques that Xenia’s working on,” said assistant printmaking professor Ernest Milsted. “Xenia worked in a print shop for a master printer, so her expertise in that is really the reason that we picked her to come. We also chose her for her artwork, we really liked her imagery.”

In addition to the workshop, Fedorchenko also conducted a lecture in the Contemporary Art Gallery on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at noon. She spoke of her childhood in Russia, her experiences in art school and as an assistant in a print shop and her job as an assistant professor at Lamar University. She also explained the inspiration behind the piece that she made while at Southeastern.

“The image I’m making kind of stems from several sources,” said Fedorchenko. “It started, I think, when I found a little girl’s diary, which talks about her sad, sad life, you know, as little girls will have. Then I was thinking about the idea of kind of tempting fate and not staying where you’re comfortable necessarily, but pushing on, pushing further. I was thinking about imagery that would be kind of appropriate I guess to both southeast Texas and here, where I live and here. So there are alligators and things like that that live around us and using them as metaphors to express the idea of tempting fate.”

The workshop took place in the printmaking classroom in Clark Hall. Throughout the week, students assisted Fedorchenko with the printing process, along with the help of Milsted.

“Whatever they tell me to do, I do. Like with the newsprint, I put that down for them and help them get prepped to do the print,” said Courtney Boucher, a senior printmaking and art history major. It means a lot to me to be able to work with her because I’m a printmaking major. So to actually see a master printmaker, hopefully it will help me grow from here.”

Several portions of the print are created using lithography, a printmaking technique that the artist spent time teaching the students.

“Oh, it’s been a great, positive, wonderful experience,” said Fedorchenko. “With the students helping and excited and energetic, they just kind of jump in there with anything that I need, anything at all. They seem to know how to do everything and they’re just really supportive and really excited and a good group. Of course Dale and Ernest have been really wonderful to me, everything from just staying at the guest house to the working in the shop has been absolutely amazing, the equipment, the facilities.”