Phyllis McGibbon

Phyllis McGibbon
(781) 283-3364
B.F.A., M.F.A., University of Wisconsin (Madison)
Phyllis McGibbon
Elizabeth Christy Kopf Professor of Art

Visual artist working in a range of graphic media, i.e. prints, drawings, artist books, photomontages, and installations.

Much of my art is propelled by the notion of historical cycles and the way that images and ideas reverberate across time, often through shared materials, tools, and working methods. Here at Wellesley I teach all levels of printmaking and drawing and enjoy exploring the connections between the graphic arts and other creative disciplines with my students.

Albrecht Dürer’s print oeuvre has been a catalyst for many of my own projects, including “Traveler: Angel with Sudarium”, an etched copper piece based upon one of his prints in the Fogg Museum.

"Traveler: Angel with Sudarium, After Dürer", etched copper

"Traveler: Angel with Sudarium, (after Dürer)"

I find something poetic in the mechanisms of a print studio and am fascinated with the way that ideas can be taken apart, distilled, and expanded through a shift of context as well as dialogue. I value the kind of knowledge that can be developed by way of the hand as well as the eye and believe that a liberal arts education can be an advantage for an artist.



Most original prints begin with the creation of a printing matrix, i.e. a plate, block, stone, or stencil that is used to transfer ink from one surface to another in a repeatable manner. Some prints are very simple and direct, involving perhaps a single matrix, but others are complex, requiring the orchestration of many elements and sometimes, multiple hands.

In the Wellesley studios, we can print etchings from copper plates, relief prints from wood, linoleum, and plastic, lithographs from limestone, polyester and aluminum plates and screenprint onto various surfaces. We bind our own books and print text from lead, photopolymer and wood type. Some of our projects integrate digital processes with hand printing in unconventional ways. In addition to Dactyl Press, our main printmaking studio on the top floor of Pendleton West, we have dedicated spaces for our large format digital printers, a laser cutter, as well as a paper and screenprint facility. Virtually all of the graphic techniques that we employ were once cutting edge technology, but even the most antique printing methods carry fresh potential thanks to renewed experimentation and collaboration among artists. 

However, to speak of printmaking simply in terms of its tools or methods would be to miss one of its most important cultural legacies - the spirit of communal effort, creative collaboration and ongoing studio dialogue whenever a project is underway. Learning to make prints in a shared printshop encourages one to think through multiple options in conversation and coordination with others. Students drawn to this medium tend to be quintessential liberal arts students, and find that their hands-on experience in the print studio enhances their creativity and depth of thought in a range of disciplines.

Phyllis McGibbon
Elizabeth Christy Kopf Professor of Studio Art