02 February 2006
Print Viewing at Smith College
The Smith College Museum of Art, a short walk from my house, has an office called the Cunningham Center for the Study of Prints, Drawings and Photographs which houses over 18,000 original works of art on paper incuding, of course, some woodblock prints. I just recently found out that the general public is welcome to make an appointment there to see up to 15 works at one sitting, so today I had my first of hopefully many appointments and I was able closely study 10 prints the staff had pulled for me by artists Richard Diebenkorn, Neil Welliver, Antonio Frasconi and Helen Frankenthaler, including the Frankenthaler piece above, called Cedar Hill. This is a piece that Frankenthaler created in collaboration with master printer Tadashi Toda of Kyoto. She first created the piece as an acrylic painting, but as the collaboration with Tadashi Toda progressed, the work emerged as an entirely different piece than the original painting. The print is made with multiple blocks of mahogany, a wood which has a strongly striated grain. As you can see in the larger view, the delicate layers of multicolored striations give the print a glowing quality and a depth that I found quite captivating. This was my favorite of the 10 prints I saw. Interestingly, the only artist I saw today who did not collaborate with a master printer to make their work was Antonio Frasconi. I'll do a post on him in the future.
I'll definitely be going back to the Cunningham Center many more times for a look at more prints.