Printmaker’s works on display at science center in Norwell
By Robert Knox

Works by Corinne D’Italia include “San Bartolomeo.”

Trained as a painter and calligrapher, South Shore artist Corinne D’Italia was drawn to “the unexpectedness” of printmaking 15 years ago. It’s an art form with special challenges, she said, and sometimes unanticipated rewards.
“It’s a very physical art form,” D’Italia said recently. “You work with a paper, you work with a plate. You have to think backwards. You have to have expectations of what you’re going to get, and it’s always a surprise. You only get one chance to put the paper on top and run it through the press, and then start all over again.”
The unexpected may enhance the product, but not always.
“Sometimes you get stuff you had no idea was going to happen, and it’s wonderful,” she said. “Other times, the window panes will rattle. . . . It’s a recalcitrant art. For people who like to be in control, it teaches us humility.”
D’Italia’s one-woman show of 30 prints and one painting will be on display for a month at the Vine Hall Gallery of the South Shore Natural Science Center in Norwell starting Wednesday. An opening reception will take place on Oct. 18, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Her work has appeared previously in the gallery’s group shows. “She was a prospect” for a show, said Chris Jacobs, the science center’s event coordinator. “We saw her work and thought it was beautiful.”
“Midnight Gull Frenzy”

The prints on display in her show are a size D’Italia calls “quarter sheets” (a reference to the size of standard art paper), about 11 by 14 inches. They are matted in white and framed by the artist herself.
Many of the works falls into four “muntins” series. Muntins are the strips of wood that hold the panes of glass in a window. D’Italia said these were inspired by particular windows with striking views she saw in Italy, O’Brien Castle in Ireland, in Santa Fe, and other sites.
“Behind the windows are images, oceans and forests, mist and fires,” the artist said.
D’Italia, a Brookline native who describes herself as “born with a pencil in one hand and a paintbrush in the other,” said she was encouraged to pursue art by her mother, who was also an artist. D’Italia designed and taught “The Art of Calligraphy” class at various South Shore adult education programs and senior centers.
She is also a published writer whose art has graced the cover of a literary magazine that also published her short story. One of her prints was acquired by the Boston Public Library for its American Printmaking Collection.
Like other local printmakers, she began making prints at the South Shore Art Center in Cohasset (printmaker Esther Maschio of Scituate is one of the artists with whom she’s studied) and continues to make use of the art center’s printing press. A longtime South Shore resident, her work has appeared in many area shows.
Artists “keep lots of images,” D’Italia said. Images from a family visit to Naples inspired a print that offers a misty, watery view of the island, “Procida.” Also from Naples comes the image “San Bartolomeo,” a view through an the old stone archway showing a street with delicate lines to suggest clothes hung from lines. Her print “Midnight Gull Frenzy” is a coolly magical evocation of a midnight view over water that uses a Prussian blue she mixed to substitute for conventional blues. Shapely arched windows frame a series called “Gryphon,” named for the mythical creature with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion.

Muntins Series III Gryphon #1
The show’s painting is a colorful acrylic titled “Persephone.” Online images of all the works in the show are available at the artist’s website, at mistytyler.blogspot.com.
The artist said her show’s apparently enigmatic title, “Misty Tyler Revealed,” makes use of a long-ago misunderstanding of her name. “Back in the mists of time,” she said, “when young women were addressed as ‘Miss,’ the office receptionist misheard ‘Miss D’Italia’ and called down the hallway, ‘Who on earth is Misty Tyler?’” The nickname, and the story, just stuck around.
Jacobs said the science center’s gallery shows artwork that fits in with its mission of natural science education. “We typically have art shows that reflect a natural theme.

"Morning Marsh" 2010
Of the 939 images submitted, Juror Joann Moser selected 111 for the Monotype Guild of New England's 2nd National Monotype Show. Being included in that select group was an extraordinarily joyful moment for me!

Dr. Moser's Juror's Statement 2010
I was fascinated by the wide variety of works submitted to be considered for the MGNE’s 2nd  National Exhibition [and] it was the power of the image, not the technique or materials, that determined which works I selected…. Simple, bold images were easier to grasp than images with more complex, subtle relationships. I tend to favor simplicity and directness over complexity. I appreciate the importance of chance in printing a monotype image, but I want to sense that the artist has control over the process and is not relying too heavily on chance effects. The one quality that all the award winners share is my continuing interest in looking at them.  … the process [of the monotype] reminded me of the joy, spontaneity, and challenge of making monotypes that I heard from artists throughout the 1990s, when I was doing research on the history of monotype in America.

“Taste of Terror” monoprint w/calligraphy 2006*
*Accessioned in 2009 by the Boston Public Library into its American Printmaking Collection.

Joann Moser, senior curator of the Smithsonian’s Museum of American Art, was the juror for the Monotype Guild of New England’s 20th Anniversary Portfolio. Of the 30 prints selected for inclusion in this Guild’s portfolio was my monoprint, “Taste of Terror.” Anchoring the image is John Montague’s poem, “The Trout” calligraphed in Celtic uncial.

Dr. Moser has been the Senior Curator of Graphic Arts at the Smithsonian American Art Museum since 1986.  She published, Singular Impressions: The Monotype in America, in 1997, and has written on the famous printmaking workshop, Atelier 17, and on collaborative printmaking in the United States before 1960. She has published an essay on the prints of Nathan Oliveira and has written the lead essay for an upcoming catalog of the prints of Sean Scully.

Joann Moser's Juror’s Statement 2006
As I was looking through the many wonderful monotypes and monoprints submitted for this portfolio, I began by searching for the most intriguing images. Which ones captured my attention and held it? The second time through, I looked for subtlety. Some of the compositions were quiet and nuanced, works that whispered rather than calling for attention.  Next I eliminated those that seemed decorative or superficially attractive. The speed with which an image can be drawn and printed, the ease with which color can be used in making a monotype, carries the temptation to create flashy surface effects that do not add up to a coherent expression. Accidental effects are among the joys of creating a monotype, but by themselves they do not created a compelling work of art.  I looked for originality and distinctiveness, not in the technique by which the image was created, but rather in the overall impression. Finally, I selected those images that struck an effective balance between control and spontaneity.

by John Montague
Flat on the bank I parted
Rushes to ease my hands
In the water without a ripple
And tilt them slowly downstream
To where he lay, tendril light,
In his fluid sensual dream.

Bodiless lord of creation
I hung briefly above him
Savouring my own absence
Senses expanding in the slow
Motion, the photographic calm
That grows before action.

At the curve of my hands
Swung under his body
He surged, with visible pleasure.
I was so preternaturally close
I could count every stipple
But still cast no shadow, until

The two palms crossed in a cage
Under the lightly pulsing gills.
Then (entering my own enlarged
Shape, which rode on the water)
I gripped. To this day I can
Taste his terror on my hands.

By kind permission of the author and The Gallery Press, Loughcrew, Oldcastle, Ireland;
from Collected Poems (1995)