Tag Archives: print making

Cordel Literature: José Francisco Borges

A couple of years ago my friend Joe, a frequent traveler to Brazil, told me about the Cordel literature of José Francisco Borges and sent me this link from The Good Blood blog. Knowing a good thing when I see it, I immediately grabbed the image below and put it into my screen saver rotation at work.

I suppose it’s pretty easy to see why I might be attracted to this type of art. If it’s so easy I suppose I should also take the trouble to describe why. Tomorrow.

More a printmaker than a sculptor: S.V. Medaris

Carcasses from "The Meat Locker," S.V. Medaris, 2011. Woodcut on masa, adhered to insulation board, hooks, and wire, edition of four. 96 x 48 inches (each). Printed and published by the artist.

Continuing my theme from yesterday and the day before, here is another work from the New Prints 2011 exhibition, S.V. Medaris’s, Carcasses from “The Meat Locker.” It’s a bummer I didn’t get a very good photo.

Great use of multiples here. A statement concerning art as a commodity?

Check it out, Medaris also has a great WordPress blog.

More a printmaker than sculptor: Tomi Um

Little Opera, Tomi Um, 2011. Screenprinted accordian book, edition of 300. 14.5 x 126 inches. Printed and published by Strane Dizioni, Italy.

Continuing my theme from yesterday, here is another work from the New Prints 2011 exhibition, Tomi Um’s Little Opera.

There’s a lot to love here. The most immediately striking aspect is how the accordion fold presentation cleanly melds centuries of history between ancient papyrus scroll and the codex (book). The accordion book can be turned fold by fold as a book or all pulled out to over ten feet. These proportions make it natural for narrative time to progress from left to right, as in comics.

As I looked closer at the central climactic image above I realized that there are three distinct layers (or planes) in this composition which adds some delicious complexity and texture yet are printed with only two silk screens. The red ink and associated negative space depict the audience and white gladiators, respectively. Then, the black-inked gladiators are printed on top in a light black so that the red ink still comes through. The line work is so distinct yet this printing technique adds just the right amount of uncertainty.

More a printmaker than sculptor: Himmelfarb

Blue Motive, John Himmelfarb, woodblock on stonehenge mounted to blocks of wood, edition of nine. 2011. 21 x 28 x 15 inches. Printed by Gabe Hoare and Steve Mueller.

Blue Motive, John Himmelfarb, woodblock on stonehenge mounted to blocks of wood, edition of nine. 2011. 21 x 28 x 15 inches. Printed by Gabe Hoare and Steve Mueller.

Though I have always defined my artwork as sculpture, I have come to realize that it is really much more in the tradition of printmaking. It’s just that I never get around to actually printing. I’m too enamored with the shiny plates.

Of course definitions don’t make new artwork or make artwork better but claiming an association with a particular craft tradition helps me talk about my work, which has always been a weakness of mine.

This revelation (which may have been already obvious to a casual observer) came about last month when, after viewing the Suspended After Image, I took a turn around the New Prints 2011 exhibition in the UT Visual Arts Center’s Mezzanine Gallery.

When I came around the corner and saw John Himmelfarb’s Blue Motive, I knew there was a place for me in the world of print making. For reasons that I still can’t articulate, (perhaps it is my career in technical theater, perhaps it was early exposure to pop up books) I am perpetually drawn to planar arrangements. Each plane, a separately composed image, thoughtfully assembled with more of the same — magic.

Assignment I: common measure

Assignment I from Writing Metrical Poetry by William Baer.

Giovanni Battista Piranesi
In sixteen plates you take us down
To baleful vaults of stone.
Your fantasies are far to close
To fears repressed and known.

Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Carceri, plate XIV, "The Gothic Arch", 1750.

Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Carceri, plate XIV, "The Gothic Arch", 1750.