January 3, 2020

Happy New Year!

        As we enter a new year and a new decade, gates and doorways seem like an appropriate metaphor, so I have three block prints of portals for you today.  Two are by artists I’ve featured before, and the third is new to me.  So, we start with this wood block print by Bruno da Osimo, showing one of the ancient gates through the Roman wall of the town of Osimo.  No, it’s not a coincidence that the artist and the town have the same name.  Bruno chose to call himself after his hometown, and recorded many images of his local landscapes, as well.  I love the variety of textures in this piece, and the way the path curves as it enters so that we get only a glimpse of further buildings beyond.  That's certainly how I feel entering a new year!

        This huge fancy doorway by Herbert Pullinger is an interesting blend of detailed areas and rough areas.  The ornate wrought iron filigree is incredibly detailed, but most of the people are mere silhouettes.  The words above the door are carefully rendered in both black and white according to the fall of light, but are completely blanked out in large areas.  Pullinger is capturing lighting so strong and harsh that shadows black out all detail and sunlight bleaches out all detail to white.
        Finally, a gate by Rebecca Hearle.  This one uses four colors of ink (plus paper), and the contrast here is between the careful details of the gate and the very simple background.  I get the impression that this is a portrait of a real gate somewhere, lovingly recorded.  Like Osimo, Hearle also celebrates scenes of her own home, in her case the Wash and Fens of East Anglia.
        As you step through into this next decade, I wish you joy wherever you can find it, strength whenever you need it, and hope to guide the way.

[Pictures: Porta Musone, wood block print by Bruno da Osima, 1940s;
The Iron Gates, wood engraving by Herbert Pullinger, 1957 (Image from Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts);
Fenland Gate, lino block print by Rebecca Hearle (Image from her web site).]


SAC said...

I love your New Year's wish! I've written it down so that I don't have to find this post in your blog whenever I want to see it again. :)

Kristin said...

The fancy door reminds me of a similar door in Detroit to the building that once houses the board of education.

Doors are so interesting.

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

SAC, I'm so glad you like it. Maybe the more of us who wish it for each other, the more likely we are to find it!

Kristin, I love doors, too. As far as I can make out the obscured writing over the fancy door here, it looks like some insurance building in Pennsylvania. I'm sure people must recognize it if they're from the area. Probably it was designed only to impress everyone with their eminence, but I like it anyway!