Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Two Woodcuts by Bertha Schrader

I read this article about Bertha Schrader earlier this month on The Linosaurus. It says that the artist began making woodcuts in her 60's, "after having already a career as an accomplished and successful painter." The Linosaurus could only find these two examples of Schrader's woodcuts (the two shown here), the first of Der Zwinger and the second depicting a windmill on the Dutch Canal.

I'm most struck by the foggy, atmospheric depth achieved in these images. There is none of the flattening out that often happens with relief prints, and in that sense they are quite painterly. Where these woodcuts do depart from Schrader's paintings is in the limited range of colors used. Here, this simplification of the image required by the medium results in a ghostly impression, such as that of a dream or memory. Edges dissolve. Solid forms melt into ethereal shadows or dancing highlights.

I look back, but it's not the same. A screen has been pulled down, obscuring my view. I am suddenly a stranger in a place where I was once adored. I find myself wondering, is this really how it always looked and smelled? Didn't it used to be bigger? Even now, it seems to shrink before my eyes. So intense is my stare through small windows, which might soon enough be keyholes. I should walk away before there is nothing left to see, and thereby keep only the impression of this place in my mind, however flawed.

No comments:

Post a Comment