We all know about silkscreen, did it in high-school art class. It's just a simple, cheap way to make a few dozen or a few hundred posters; slurp on the ink, scrunge it along with the scraper, and there you are, right?
Right, unless the man bending over the silk screen is Washington's Lou Stovall, who has made a fine art of this craft.
With one of Stovall's works, of which a whole bunch have just gone on exhibit at the Smithsonian's Anacostia Neighborhood Museum, you might not know it was silkscreen if the label didn't say so. And even then you might not believe it.
If anybody ever told Stovall you can't do such rich and delicate scenes on silkscreen, he didn't listen. The artist himself deprecates his work, saying -- in a well-done short film that visitors ought to see first -- that his silkscreening is just a skill he developed to exploit his real art, which is drawing. Whatever you say, Lou.
The film follows Stovall's creation of the poster announcing the exhibit. It was designed to show young visitors, to whom the museum is primarily devoted, how silkscreen works; it kept at least one adult visitor equally fascinated.
But wait, there's more: It's actually a joint show of works by Lou and/or Di Stovall, whose work Lou says he prefers to his own. And maybe he's not just being gallant to his wife, because fellow artist Sam Gilliam says the same thing. Her works speak of a strong and colorful lady with a whim of irony. A whimsy of iron?
The Stovalls have been working jointly and severally in Washington for many years now, and through the Corcoran and a number of studios have inspired and trained a whole generation of young artists. May they live and work forever. THE ART OF LOU AND DI STOVALL -- Through December 18 at the Smithsonian's Anacostia Neighborhood Museum, 2405 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE. Open 1 to 6 weekends, 10 to 6 weekdays.