Sylvia Solochek Walters Biography

Sylvia Solochek Walters




Sylvia Solochek Walters (née Solochek), printmaker, educator, and administrator, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 24 August, 1938. She completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees (B.S., M.S., M.F.A.) at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and began her teaching career in 1963. She taught painting, printmaking, and art history for several years at public and private colleges in Wisconsin, Nebraska, and New York State.

Walters moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 1967 eventually joining the staff at the University of Missouri where she founded and chaired the art department, and, for ten years served as gallery director. In that capacity she developed public panel discussions and exhibitions such as American Women Printmakers (1975) which included work by Louise Nevelson, Judy Chicago, and Pat Steir. In 1984, Walters was invited to join the faculty and to chair the art department at San Francisco State University. She was chairwoman until 2004 and was awarded Professor Emerita status in 2009. 

While she taught relief printmaking at San Francisco State University, Walters produced a body of highly detailed reductive woodcuts. Her work, which began in the late 1950s with strong black and white figurative compositions, gradually incorporated more subtle narratives. She developed an inventive technique combining stencil and wood that allowed her to use a full color palette in her prints using a single block of wood.

Walters is a member of and exhibited with the California Society of Printmakers and her work has been featured in over 300 exhibitions. She received awards from the Southern Graphics Council International, Northern California Print Competition, Colorprint USA, Vermillion, and the St. Louis Artists’ Guild. Walters was also the recipient of two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Sylvia Solochek Walters’ work is represented in the collections of the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, University of California, Berkeley; the Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin, Madison; the Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin; the New York Public Library, New York; the Oakland Museum of California; the Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California; and the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.