Monday, October 20, 2014

Light from Dark: Woodcuts Old and New

A new mini exhibition by Conservator Andrea Krupp explores her fascination with historic woodcuts—which speak to her in a language that is abstract, abbreviated, coded, and also timeless—and presents her own original contributions to the conversation. 

Chestnut Street Theatre, Pauvrette! or, Under the snow! … (Philadelphia, 1864)

With a sharp blade, the artist removes wood from the surface of a smooth wooden plank, paring away what is not needed.  What is left is a raised design that will carry the ink to the paper.  The process of working from dark to light (through cutting) forces the artist to make bold, black-or-white choices. It requires directness in both cutting the block and in editing the message that one is trying to convey.

Ercker.  Beschreibung allerfĂĽrnemisten mineralischen Ertzt vnnd Bergkwercks (Frankfurt, 1598)

A wide variety of woodcuts crosses Andrea’s desk in the McLean Conservation Department, and she is continually inspired by their immediacy, the clarity of their intent, and their hand-hewn charm.  The work commands attention, even 200 years later, and speaks clearly in a timeless and universal visual language. As an artist and printmaker who makes her own woodcuts, Andrea feels connected with the anonymous makers who came before.  A recent series of original woodcuts, inspired by an artist’s residency in Iceland, expresses the power of the Icelandic landscape and the history embedded in it. 

Andrea Krupp, Mountainside, 2014

Come to the Library Company to see “Light from Dark” in the cases outside the Reading Room through January 2015.  To see more of Andrea Krupp’s original work, visit Twenty-two Gallery  at 236 South 22nd Street in Philadelphia through November 9 for her exhibition “North of Here.”

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