Research Point: Linocuts

26, 30 & 31/08/16

Research Point

Find a couple of contemporary printmakers whose work you like, and reflect on their techniques. How do they use lino? What sort of marks do they make? What could you learn from them?

Initially I looked over my tutor’s comments following on from my first assignment and researched some of the printmakers that had been noted. These, although, not strictly relating to linocuts but monoprints, were really inspiring for future work. I spent time looking at how they went through their individual processes and inspirations. My thoughts, along with ideas for future personal concepts are at the end of this post.

Regarding linocut printmaking in particular, I found some beautiful work and have selected a couple of the printmakers that particularly caught my eye. I have also created a Pinterest board, where I have pinned a small sample of the work that I really liked and/or found interesting: https://uk.pinterest.com/ginaemmett/contemporary-printmakers/

Mark A Pearce

A painter and printmaker who lives and works in the Lake District, using his surroundings to create beautiful work. His linocuts are colourful and sharp, using the same block in a reductive technique to layer his colours and images, once cut they can not be reused for the earlier layers. I find this thought both terrifying and liberating. His mark making is very precise in appearance, although he manages to reproduce the natural shapes around him with some very straight and angular lines with directional cuts. From these he can produce stunning water reflections and ripples with lots of movement in water, skies and foliage. There are examples of strong contrasting colours and also of subtle shifts in tones of similar colours. The registration of each layer has to be spot on to create these sharp images, one that immediately springs to mind is of the boat in the water called Morning Reflection 42 x 26cm – https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/359232507760718720/

I was also struck by the differing scale of his prints along with orientation best suited to the compositions. Some were quite small at around 17x17cm and the largest I noted was 71x44cm, pretty big for a single block I would think. The images are very painterly, Mark himself, notes that his paintings can look like his prints and vice versa.

Website: http://www.markapearce.co.uk/original-linocut-prints

Angela Newberry

This printmaker has quite a different style – her prints are still colourful but in a more muted sense and I’m wondering whether this is, in part, due to the different papers she uses. This is something I have yet to explore in any depth, I have used different paper but only as far as newsprint, differing weights of cartridge and some fairly standard, flat and strong printing paper. Angela has used handmade papers such as Italian Fabriano, Japanese Hosho (made from the bark of the Kozo tree (paper Mulberry)) and Nepalese Lokta (from the Lokta plant, a member of the Laurel family) in different colours. Unfortunately, I can not really see the variety of printing quality on-screen as I’m sure I would in the “flesh”, however, with handmade paper there must be natural variations that give a unique quality to each print in an edition. The artist is based in Cornwall and Australia although is mostly inspired by the Australian landscape, however, there is a strong Japanese feel to her printmaking – maybe again, because of the papers?

Website: http://angela-newberry.co.uk/index.htm

Hosho Papers – Strong and soft, not liable to shrinkage or expansion. Natural colouring – unbleached.

Ref: David Bull’s Encyclopedia of Woodblock Printing, Woodblock.com

Lokta Papers – Long lasting and durable, strong and easily foldable avoiding crinkling and corrugation, free from germs and highly resistant to insects. Made from the bark of the Lokta sampling when 5-7 feet tall, is cut from the base and regenerates over a few years and is a sustainable resource.

Ref: http://www.papermojo.com/lokta.html

Other Recommended Printmakers

Suggestions from my tutor for printmakers to look at, again images I liked have been added to my Pinterest board – link above:

Terry Frost – Abstract/colourful/joyful

Richard Diebenkorn – Etchings

Pat Steir – Silk screen/etchings/monoprints over the top of screen prints – each individual – there are NO MISTAKES in art just discoveries – inspired by Chinese water painting.

Prunella Clough – Idea development – development of images and compositional choices. Landscapes and geology. Reducing and enlarging – industrial legacies – abstraction of images.

Helen Frankethaler – Abstraction – emotional overload – very expressive – more screen printing and monoprinting.

Shelley Burgoyne – Working from observation – Magadelena series – Etching & linocut. Fabulous pen and ink drawings from which to build prints. Very inventive and creative yet managing to continue to explore her main themes – always finding new ways to express them – thought to take away! Particularly like the Tide drawings 2x2m. Further thoughts in A4 sketchbook.

Possible themes for development:

Have been pondering where I can go regarding developing themes. Looking back at past courses and work, I am always interested in contrasts – be they shadow-light, hard-soft, jagged or rounded, industrial-natural. In Drawing and Painting 1, I was fascinated with cast shadows – making them as important as the object throwing them. Here in my new location, I am drawn to the volcanic rock which was once molten and fluid and is now solid yet can appear rounded or sharp.

  1. Examine contrasts as discussed above:
    1. shadow/light
    2. hard/soft
    3. angular/curved
    4. industrial/natural
  2. Female misogyny – this idea has been floating around in my head for a few months.
    1. what
    2. who
    3. why
    4. how
    5. competition?
    6. jealousy?
    7. male indoctrination?
    8. to be valued by men – the ultimate goal?

“Contrasts” would be more easily translated into a visual context – although for interest would benefit from abstraction and examining the feelings evoked.

Female misogyny, a more conceptual theme that would require much contemplation and expressive experimentation. Again, abstraction of emotions, rules applying to females across cultures, religions, the work place, family hierarchy – plus, I’m sure, many more angles. Maybe explore symbolism as well as expressionism.

Could the two themes be brought together – I’m sure they could with thought…

 

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