19 June 2015

Final Print: Wind

Watercolor woodblock print with stencils
26 x 38 inches (97 x 67 cm) on Gekko washi
edition: 2
With thanks to American Antiquarian Society for reference materials.

I finish this print with the addition of an anthropomorphized sun based on an 18th century almanac illustration and a little city taken from a 1762 woodcut whose original context I can't locate. The print began with a quote from "The New Book of Knowledge" (1767):
Wind is an Exhalation hot and dry, drawn up into the Air by the Power of the Sun, and by the weight thereof driven down.
This is an example of the science of America's founders, based on Aristotle's natural philosophy and the Aristotelian concept of "exhalations," which are ill-defined but seem to be a way of describing the invisible flow of things such as wind and water. Although some Newtonian scientific principles were available in the 1700s, historians agree that the replacement of Aristotelian cosmology with Newtonian was a long process and not complete until into the 19th century.

Also present in the imagery of this print is the fact that this spring two of my women friends – on opposite sides of the country, neither of them smokers, and within 6 weeks of each other – were diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. I couldn't make art about wind without thinking about them, without thinking about breathing, without thinking about the environmental factors that may or may not play a role in cancers and other respiratory diseases. I offer this print with love, for my friends and for our planet.

♥ Annie


Unknown said...

This is so beautiful, Annie. As is so often true of your work, it strikes me as a gentle "calling down" of the meanings and symbols and associations with which we live, however consciously or unconsciously. And again — operating against the stereotype of the artist who will insist that the piece "stand on its own" without comment — you create work that does stand independently AND you offer narrative that makes the experience all the more rich for us. I love that.

Annie B said...

Thank you, Unknown. I used to do a lot more explaining than I do now, but some things I still have to talk about. I probably should have been a writer like I planned when I was in third grade. :)

Celia Hart said...

Isn't interesting how New Knowkedge gradually becomes out-dated ideas and replaced by New Science. I often wonder which of tOday's scientific facts will become the outdated ideas in future years.

I love the colour and texture of this print and the integration of the words.

The sun and dwelling remind me of the pen drawings that Grayson Perry includes in his pieces, do you know his work? I think you will like the narrative aspect.

Annie B said...

Celia, thanks for your comment about Grayson Perry. I first became aware of him around the time of (and because of) his Reith Lecture, but I haven't revisited his work since then. I'm going to go look again. I always appreciate your suggestions. And a hearty agreement with your musings about "new" and "old" science.

Beth Cullom said...

Your friend on the West Coast sends love back in the summer wind, across the Tetons, the Great Plains, the brown Mississippi, and green coolies of Minnesota, and blue expanse of the St. Lawrence, all the way to your Northampton hills. Your friendship and collaboration are an amazing gift to me!

Elizabeth Busey said...

I'm so sorry for part of inspiration of the print. I do love the movement and gradations of this work.

Another thought about linoleum and water-based ink. You might try sanding the lino to get rid of the waxy top layer. I'd do some testing though!