Monday, June 9, 2014

Woodcuts in ICPNY's New Prints 2014/Summer Exhibition (Part 1 of 3)

This is the start of a rundown of thoughts about the woodcuts featured in New Prints 2014/Summer at the International Print Center New York. I'll post three more artists tomorrow and a final three on Wednesday. For any printmakers out there, IPCNY takes submissions for its New Prints shows three times a year. Best of all, no submission fees. Learn how to submit and join the email list here. 

Earth, by Brenda Malkinson.

From a far enough distance, the storm is lovely and calm. Two atmospheric swirls over a topsy turvy sky form the eyes of a giant bird who overlooks the celestial dawn. This ocean that is our everything is poured out like grains of sand through an hourglass. The end of the world will not bleed. It will burn, slowly, but for now, let's go for a quick dip. 

Malkinson makes glass artworks and woodcuts. (Check out her website here.) Wood and glass are such different materials, but what they have in common is an emphasis on an arrangement of shapes and on the natural textures of the materials themselves. Both are used in the rigid and geometric construction of buildings (supportive beams, windows), and yet both lend themselves well to the creation of organic forms. Both inevitably contain an array of subtle imperfections (cracks in the wood, bubbles in the glass), particularly when worked by a single artist's hand. 

Irish Standing Stone II by Jim Lee 

Everything moves at its own pace. It's odd to encounter a rock that stands upright, such as myself, as if we are two souls who have met in the street and have paused to size each other up. The clouds above move rapidly in the wind. That same wind tickles the grass to quiver. There is a long, stone wall and white house in the distance. This fellow has been here much longer than they have. 

Jim Lee enjoys a successful career, having exhibited internationally and founded Blue Moon Press over 30 years ago. He also teaches at the Hartford Art School. While I obviously love this print, I like his color prints and the more whimsical imagery featuring animals even better. So I'll keep that in mind for future posts. You can find some of his works online here and here

 A Travers (Through) by Luca Cruzat 

You can never be sure just what will happen when you walk through a door. 

Luca Cruzat has a pretty fantastic artist's website and blog. She works with several art-making materials, including collograph and screenprintmaking, thread and paper, and 3D works using thread, fabric, paint, and more.

On her website, her woodcuts are the most purely abstract works. It's far more satisfying to see them all together as a series than to just see this one, since together a more thorough exploration becomes apparent of what can be expressed with the grain of the block and just a few traditional cutting techniques.

I also really like what Cruzat has done combining woodcuts with other printmaking techniques in her Recent Works, particularly using uniquely woodcut-derived textures to enhance the expressive quality of the images. 

To be continued... 

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