About the artist Nina Muys
Nina Muys, a Silver Spring resident and native Austrian, has developed an innovative carborundum intaglio process, giving her non-toxic works a painterly, softly modulated look reminiscent of the aquatint. A quantiy of metallic carborundum dust is suspended in an acrylic medium that Muys applies to a matboard plate in a light to dark wash. This allows a subtle manipulation of the printing inks resulting in a luminescent glow of colors. Muys images – whether detailed examination of specific plants and flowers or expansive presentations of wood and lakes – are suffused with a feeling of atmosphere and light.
Nina Muys born in Austria, raised in Brazil and Munich Germany, immigrated to U.S. in 1961. She settled in Maryland, married and has two sons. She is the Co-founder of the Washington Printmakers Gallery in 1984.
It was in Rome that Muys found her affection for printmaking. Under the guidance of Professor Barriviera, who introduced her to etching, she discovered how exiting and gratifying the medium can be. The fact that etching combined line and elements of surface manipulation truly intrigued her. After returning to America she focused fully on printmaking.
Intaglio has been Muys' principle form of expression however, due to health concerns, she has focused on producing prints that use non-toxic materials. She invented a method that uses acrylic and carborundum to imitate all the qualities of an etching without its dangerous substances such as acid and solvents.
Nine Muys has a deep and spiritual connection to nature. Her botanical prints express her views that flowers are miracles. The serene landscapes of her second home on Maryland's Eastern Shore offer her another perspective in which to view and appreciate the natural world.
Many of her works evoke the spirit of Albrecht Duerer who was interested in the inner life of plants, even the humblest in design. What goes on below the surface, such as the mystery of the flowering bulb interests Muys.
The Washington Post
March 21, 2014
by Mark Jenkins
Among the mysteries of printmaking is the way hard-surfaced plates yield soft textures. Nina Muys's intaglio prints of fruits, flowers and nature scenes, shown in "New Life" at Washington Printmakers Gallery, boast delicate and fluid hues that resemble those of aquatints or watercolors. This results from a process she developed, in which the image is incised not into metal but Plexiglas. To demonstrate the stylistic link, she's showing some prints next to watercolor-embellished drawings of the same vista.
Muys is an Austrian-born artist who teaches at a Montgomery County elementary school — some of her students' work is also on display — and was inspired by the recent birth of a granddaughter. Rather than baby pictures, she has made prints of nested eggs, budding blooms and other harbingers of spring, all in vernal colors. The subjects are simple, and presented in elementary compositions. But the colors are rich and moist, as if from a brush rather than a plastic matrix.