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John Brown proof on newsprint - Not editioned. Woodcut, 4 blocks of basswood, 7.5 x 10.5", oil based inks, hand pressed, newsprint.

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Comment by Resident Curator on September 8, 2013 at 3:28pm

Curator’s Comments:  



I would love to see more of your woodcuts.  While the drawings appear to capture a good likeness and have studied and varied linear measure, the woodcut has an exuberant intensity that even transcends the legendary subject.   The blackened eye sockets imbue the portrait with a haunting quality, capturing the unrelenting and ultimately fatalistic command and vision of Brown.  The roughly articulated carving and warm, neutral tonalities in the work helps convey a feeling of 19th century broadside.  The black contour lines form bold contrast, while the striations of cross contour patterns are reminiscent of the wood matrix itself.  I also particularly liked the way you worked cooler grey blocks of shadow into the head with warmer color in the hair and beard. But perhaps the warm tone is just due to the paper surface? If so, you may want to consider Grey Stonehenge if you decide to edition for longevity- I’m told it was developed to supply the same warm grey of newsprint.  From the same technical standpoint I don’t see the use of multiple blocks, and am wondering if the print is a jigsaw or seamless color registration?  Ultimately it doesn’t matter, since the resulting image stands on its own.

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