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Constance Alexander: Sisters’ printmaking inspires students through unique residency at Murray State


There was no sisterly squabbling or good-natured sibling rivalry last week when Carrie Lingscheit and Emmy Lingscheit served as artists in residence at Murray State University. Working in separate studios, the sister-artists were immersed in the process of editioning unique works of art, with the assistance of Professor Nicole Hand’s advanced printmaking class.

Carrie Lingscheit’s intricate etching/mezzotint featured a family of mythical jackalopes, while Emmy Lingscheit’s attention was riveted on a print design of Carolina Parakeets, the North American parrot that has been extinct since the early 1900s.

In the world of modern technology, Carrie Lingscheit was drawn to intaglio printmaking because of the tactile relationship between the physical materials and the image being developed. “The matrix evolves gradually as each mark builds upon the previous,” she said in her artist statement, “creating a physical record of past action across the metal surface in what often becomes truly a labor of love.”

Also related to technology, Emmy Lingscheit’s art explores how its advance leads to insights into a world we thought we knew. The ambiguities and exchanges between humans and animals, for instance, were reflected in the parakeet portrait she created in the MSU printmaking studio. “I am memorializing an extinct animal,” she explained.

Her philosophy is explained in more detail on her website, where she said she explores “the myriad ways in which we are enmeshed with the non-human world, from the cellular level to the global economy, and their implications for the ecological and climatic challenges we face.”

Current MSU art students assisted, asked questions, and got to know both artists during their residencies, which were made possible through an endowment by a 1972 graduate of Murray State’s Department of Art and Design, Patricia L. Summerville.

In 1972, Ms. Summerville earned a B.S. in Art Education after an all-out effort to complete the degree requirements in 3 years and get out into the world. The Louisville native first taught in the Cleveland area, where the current innovation was schools without walls. After two years of that chaos, Pat taught in a more structured environment in Shaker Heights, Ohio.

With or without walls, when she reflected on her teaching career she realized, “I was not teaching art. I was making bulletin boards.”

When offered a management job at a nursing home, she doubled her pay and broadened her horizons. Next came a position as a Chief Operating Officer for Mercy Health in the suburbs of Cincinnati. Since the job consisted of talking to attorneys all the time, it made sense to go to law school. After that, career moves led to Arkansas and Nashville. When she retired, she found herself thinking about her undergraduate alma mater, and how she might help aspiring art students.

The endowment that brought the Lingscheit Sisters to MSU is one of the results of Pat’s generosity. Their 3-day residency involved students in assisting with the works-in-progress. In addition, a public lecture welcomed students and community to meet the artists.

Assistant Dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, Nicole Hand, is also a printmaker, and she applauds the programs funded through Pat Sommerville as an integral component of student experiences and learning.

“We are able to create a community for students here, and we expand that community by bringing in artists,” Ms. Hand explained.

Constance Alexander is a columnist, award-winning poet and playwright, and President of INTEXCommunications in Murray. She can be reached at constancealexander@twc.com. Or visit www.constancealexander.com.

“These workshops are collaborative by nature and having experience with artists is important. Collaboration and community inspire the students.”

The kind of learning that takes place during residencies is a give-and-take exchange, and Pat Summerville believes exposing students to different artists provides unique opportunities.

“Every printmaker does things differently. They have their own specialty,” she said.

“Students learn there is not just one way to do things. There are various ways to get to the end product,” she added, “and it’s good to recognize there are many different ways of looking at things.”

Pat Summerville is glad to be able to make a difference in the lives of art students, and she has settled into retirement by moving back to Murray. She is at home here and admits sometimes it feels like being in a time capsule, particularly when walking down the hall of the Old Fine Arts Building.

“It’s exactly like it was fifty years ago,” she claims. “Deja vu all over again.”

Take a look at Carrie Lingscheit’s art at www.carrielingscheit.com and Emmy Lingscheit’s is online at her website, www.emmylingscheit.com. Contact Nicole Hand for more information about the printmaking program at nhandbryant@murraystate.edu.


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