Tuesday, July 29, 2014

NAKED JULY: "Rubber Duck"

4 layer reduction woodcut. Image is 8" x 10", oil-based inks on white, sulphite block printing paper. 

"Weather means more when you have a garden. There's nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans." 

- Marcelene Cox 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

NAKED JULY: "Woman Washing Her Hair" by Goyo

Her feet and legs cast no shadow on the floor where she kneels to rinse her hair. Hair that pours down from her clutched hand, into a small bowl. These are the moments we never think about, though they happen over and over again as part of daily routine. Is she milky white or translucent? Warm and solid like a cat sleeping beside its owner, or a phantom, fading like mist in sunrise? 

Incidentally, the very first post I made to this blog was in response to another of Goyo's bathing women. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

NAKED JULY: "Life Preserver"

6 layer reduction woodcut. Image is 8" x 10", oil-based inks on white, sulphite block printing paper.

This is sort of where my Toying Around series and prints of babies/toddlers come together. The image was inspired by watching my two year old play in the bath. When I sit in the tub with her, especially when she play-acts with all her little rubber ducks and plastic fish, I feel like a sleeping giant, my belly like an island rising up from a great body of water. I think I might like to do a small series continuing to explore these ideas and impressions.

Friday, July 25, 2014

NAKED JULY: "Manao Tupapau" (Watched by the Spirits of the Dead) by Paul Gauguin

There was a moment when it all made sense. The shadows spoke, and in that instant I knew that rocks were trees, mountains were blossoms, and all the clawing away at the light we can do will not stop the river from winding into the sea.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

NAKED JULY: Four Versions of Edvard Munch's "Man Bathing"

Here are four versions I found of the same woodcut by Munch. First I tried to put them in order from my favorite to least favorite, but I kept changing my mind and eventually came to the conclusion that each one has aspects I find uniquely captivating, but none captivates me the most in an overall sense.

Looking at these variations has reminded me why I rarely do different color versions from the same block. I look at one of these images and see aspects I enjoy and which evoke a particular response. But then I look at another and see different aspects I enjoy but in a different way. Looking at them all together, comparing and contrasting, I start to lose my sense of how each individual print struck me when I first lay eyes on it.

When there is only one, it is easy to pretend that it is pristine and brilliant in conception and execution. That it could only ever say what it is saying right now. That the muse has inspired some Very Important Message. Variations on a theme expose the artist as more of a seeker than a prophet. They display the versatility of the composition, and inevitably also its limitations (and by extension, the artist's mere mortal status.)

To put it more briefly, I avoid doing variations from the same block because I'm a coward.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

NAKED JULY: "The Bath" by Felix Vollotton

She pulls herself up slowly, almost lost in the swoop of the tub's edge. The inky-black basin against the receding checkerboard floor is a vortex. The warm water sloshes, beckoning her to sink back down. A hand, arm, elbow resist. A silent attendant awaits with a towel. She is the temple pillar, holding the entire composition upright. The faucet is a pair of robins with droopy beaks, perched floating in the void and gawking. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

NAKED JULY: "Woman & World" by Dina Cormick

Though it spins and hurls swiftly through space in its orbit around the sun, sometimes the world seems stationary and crushingly heavy like a boulder. Times like these, it more resembles Jupiter than Earth. 

Though it is mostly covered with water, sometimes the world seems red hot, as if on fire. Times like these, I perceive it as crimson-colored, somewhat like Mars, but more like blood. 

Dina Cormick is a feminist artist who grew up in Zambia and has lived her adult life in South Africa. She creates highly accessible, emotionally expressive works that address issues of social justice. Learn more about Cormick and her work on her website.