Seven area printmakers have assembled a diverse yet coherent exhibit at the Emerson Gallery in McLean. Called the "Printmakers Show," it includes a collection of etchings, silk screens, monoprints and monotypes assembled under the direction of Judy Davis.

To Davis, the 21-year-old gallery is "a place founded by artists to help artists and give them a space for their work. Many galleries come to be because the artists want a gallery for themselves. This is where the Emerson is different. We are here to encourage artists to show."

The prints are both original and of high quality. The rich colors in Karla Klevan's "Doorway" mono series, for example, give simple forms a mystic feeling. Deep blues or soft shades of orange create doorways that do not have to be opened to be appreciated.

The etchings of Susana de Quadros are particularly powerful. In "Zanzibar," "No Answer" and an untitled work, human figures are placed close together to make a statement of protest or unrest. De Quadros is from South America and her prints have a folk-art flavor.

In the works by Mary Heiss, the artist mixes strong black shadows with vibrant colors, giving her work a remarkably unique appearance. "Kip," a portrait of a young child, and "Radford I," a landscape, have a surreal feeling about them so that they seemingly occupy a space between reality and imagination.

There also are fine works by Jeanne Grant, whose silkscreens are sharp and brightly colored, and Ruth Ward, Charlotte Clark and Susan Pearcy. Regardless of its small size and unlikely location, the Emerson is a first-rate gallery.

"Printmakers Show" at the Emerson Gallery, 1431 Ingleside Ave., McLean, through June 25. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call 356-6799. The gallery will move after this show closes to 6728 Whittier Ave., McLean.

Other Events:

* Annual Juried Fine Arts Exhibition. Greater Reston Arts Center. 471-9242.

* "ARIA" Group Show & Noreen Grant. Riverside Gallery, Occoquan. (703) 491-3222.