MGNE Fifth National Exhibition Highlight:
Q&A with First Place Winner Sarah Crooks

Our Juror, Judith K. Brodsky chose Sarah Crooks of Jacksonville, Florida’s 24 x 72 inch monoprint tryptich My Great Great Great for the first place award from the 100 varied and wonderful prints she selected for our Fifth National Exhibition.  Your final chance to see the show at the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury will be September 2nd.  Don’t miss the the last of our summer programming events, including an Artist’s Talk with Kelly Slater and a Plein Air Monotype Printmaking Workshop with our new President, Carolyn Letvin.

Over the summer, we were able to ask Sarah some questions about herself and her work:

SC: Thank you for offering up these questions, I had a nice memory arise while thinking about my first experiences as a printmaker.

MGNE: How long have you been printmaking for ? Tell us a little about your experience…

SC: Printmaking has been a thread throughout my 30+ years as a working artist, often incorporated into other processes like textiles, murals and fine art. As a child, my mother showed me how to make Rorschach prints by folding paint splattered paper in half and I immediately covered every surface in our living room with that magic.

MGNE: What attracted you to making monotype/monoprints ?

SC: There is honesty in making monotypes, where the history of the mark making is visceral. I like that integrity. Letting go of expectations when I submit to the effects of several hundred pounds of pressure is freeing. I like to play and monotypes are always a surprise when I peel back the blankets of the press. Courting that space between knowing and unknowing, control and freedom is a big part of my work.

MGNE: Could you tell us about your award winning print My Great Great Great? What is your motivation behind making it and what is your process?

SC: My Great Great Great is a fictional ancestor from a series of life size self portraits called Gifts of Incorporation. I was adopted as a baby and after a lifetime of searching, found my biological mother in my late 30‘s. An archetypal quest for alignment, the work illustrates ways our culture separates the body and the mind from the earth and life itself.

I used roofing copper and ferric chloride to etch 3 plates, one each for my head, my belly and my feet. Drawn from direct observation into a hard wax ground, this network of lines became the basis for a tribe of more than 30 women evolving towards wholeness. Subsequent unique ink layers included stencils, silkscreen, chine colle’, and collograph techniques. Many of the prints went through the press more than four times.

MGNE: What are you working on currently?

SC: Currently, I have two major art as healing projects I am working on. One, a site specific installation of 1500 hand silk screened and hand cut paper butterflies called Flock of Wonder, which will be installed later this month at the new Baptist Health MD Anderson Cancer Center here in Jacksonville, FL. The other is creating a printed catalog of my monumental textile series RED Pearl River, which will accompany a traveling exhibition in 2020. Funded in part by a grant from the Community Foundation of Northeast Florida, this body of work focuses on my spiritual journey up a river back to source with parallels to the ecology and natural history of the St. Johns River.

Thank you again for the honor of exhibiting in such a fine group show. For more info please contact me at