Why I do Woodblocks
What inspired me to become a printmaker was the desire to make multiples. While in the MFA program in painting at Columbia I had studied etching with Tony Harrison (also the teacher of Kathan Brown in England) and woodcut with Seong Moy. I had made a few woodblock prints in the first fifteen years after I left school but it was only in the early 1980's that making prints became an important part of my artistic life.
I had early on developed a strain of black and while work on paper. And it was when I realized that I wanted to make certain images more accessible to people that I found returning to the woodblock printing was a natural fit for me. It was not a long step from my ink drawings to my prints, and that step allowed me to refine my images as well as to introduce another element of chance (the wood and its and the printings accidents).
I welcomed the extended periods of carving after the very intense and spontaneous method I had developed in my drawing. I thought of myself as a painter who made prints, not as a printmaker per se. I never was a good enough printer to feel that I could do it better than a professional printer and I have since then always worked in collaboration with printers.
In the '80's and 90's I was not so much inspired by other artists' work as I found companionship with other artists working at the same time: Kiefer large prints and books, Brice Marden in his Rexroth Series and Cold Mountain series, Kelley in his flowers, Richard Serra. All of this work was primarily black and white. But the artist whose prints I admire the most is Edvard Munch. To his work I aspire for its complete creativity within the media, its simplicity and its strength of expression.
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