May 15, 2012

Emily Trueblood's Block Prints

        Here's an artist with an eye for industrial and urban beauty.  Emily Trueblood (b. 1942) makes wood and linoleum block prints using multiple blocks and colors, yet retaining the simplification of form that relief prints do so well.  I particularly like the geometry of her work.  Some pieces, such as "Icy Night," (to the right) are almost stark in their lines and shapes, while in others, such as "City Morning," (below) the geometry of the carving contrasts with the soft gradations of the inking.

        Trueblood uses an interesting technique, which she describes in detail here.  Essentially, after she carves a block she paints on proof prints in order to experiment with colors.  Then she prints the first block onto additional blocks as a guide for carving them so they all match up.  The finished prints are then made from multiple blocks with different inks.  The ink schemes give the images their sense of time and weather, and Trueblood is constantly
drawn to dusky conditions: sunrise and sunset, moonlight and snowfall.  The greys and gradations work really well for all these times when you don't take the light for granted.
        I love the dignity and beauty Trueblood brings to corners of the urban world that might not always be considered very beautiful.  She does make images of other scenes, too, by the way, but these are the ones that I like best.  This is one of the things art is for, after all - to catch beauty wherever it's hiding and to remind us that it might be anywhere.

[Pictures: Icy Night #1, two-block woodcut by Emily Trueblood, 2010;
City Morning, linoleum cut by Trueblood, c. 1996;
Night Towers at Union Square, two-block woodcut by Trueblood, 1998;
Snowy Dusk, three-color woodcut by Trueblood, 2007.

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