Wooed by Wood

Wooed by Wood

Artist(s)
LUX Permanent Art Collection
Curator
LUX Museum Curator
May 2020 to September 2020
Curator Statement

The LUX Center for the Arts is honoring artists who create artwork using the media of wood block printing. The Lux Print Collection includes a number of wood block prints collected by Gladys Lux, a curated selection comprises Wooed by Wood. Wooden board derived prints are called relief prints because the image is created by carving away all portions of the woodblock except for the raised lines and shapes to be printed. Ink is applied to the raised surface and a piece of paper is pressed onto the board either by hand or by a mechanical press to create the image. 

The first woodblock printings were made in China beginning in the 3rd century CE and were done on fabric; by the 9th century Chinese printers were printing on paper. Soon Japan began printing on paper and later in the 18th century, Japanese printers rose to prominence in Ukiyo-e woodblock prints. Artists of this genre in Wooed by Wood are Shigemasa, Utagawa, Hiroshige, Kikukawa, Shoda, and Yoshida. Travelers and merchants brought prints and the woodcut printing technique from China and Japan to Europe. 

The earliest known European woodcuts are from the 1300s and were mainly done in crude thick lines with little shading because delicate and detailed wooden images were difficult to carve and print. The difficulties were caused by the fragility of wood. Often the boards broke while being carved or cracked under the pressure of printing. Some of the initial European woodcut prints were created for religious books. Two such prints in Wooed by Wood are the 1576 sheet music print by an unknown artist and Virgin Mary in the Sun by Albrecht Dürer dated 1494. An influential artist yet today, Dürer is credited for bringing the woodcut to a level that many believe has never been surpassed.

Wood engravings are created similarly to woodcut prints but with two important differences. They utilize a different location on the board and a harder wood type for the image than woodcuts. The end of a cross-cut board is used by wood engravers instead of the side of the board for carving. The tighter graining on the end of a hard-wood board permits more complex and detailed images. Another early piece in Wooed by Wood is Lucas Cranach’s wood engraving titled Annunciation which was created in 1548. Also, in the exhibit are two 20th century wood engravings done by Aristide Maillol that show a modernist esthetic. 

The exhibition also includes artists Winslow Homer, Georges Rouault, Wassily Kandinsky, Rockwell Kent, the Millet brothers, among others. The twenty woodcut prints in Wooed by Wood may be seen in the Lux Print Gallery on the second floor of the LUX Center for the Arts. 

​This exhibition is curated by Susan Soriente, Curator of the Gladys Lux Print Collection, LUX Center for the Arts.

Medium
Print / Paper
 
 

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Bryon Hartley
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10/2/20 to 11/27/20
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