MARY GRASSELL is a Graphic Designer and Illustrator, and a professor of design at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. In a parallel life, she is also a relief printmaker, working and exhibiting in hand-printed wood block prints in many colors.
In the tradition of the early European wood block printers who printed books in wood before moveable type, Mary tries to depict life as it exists at the moment. Also in the tradition of Japanese printers of the 18th and 19th centuries, she tries to use color to depict life’s scenes. In printing her blocks by hand, she understands the intimacy that exists between wood and the artist; the print develops a life of its own the instant ink and impression are applied. The printmaker works in this scenario—the dual activity of what she wants to happen, but the wood and the process actually having an opinion of their own.
Mary is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh with a BFA, and holds an MFA from Syracuse University. She has been at Marshall University since 1992. Before that she was a graphic designer, with many awards in design and printmaking along the way. She feels that graphic design and printmaking have so much in common, physically and philosophically, and is glad to be well versed in both.
She has exhibited works in The West Virginia Juried Exhibition, Tamarack, Carnegie Hall in Lewisburg, Gallery 842 in Huntington, Southern Ohio Museum of Art, Pittsburgh Arts Festival, Marshall University, WV Wesleyan University, University of Charleston and many other venues locally and nationally.