October 10, 2014

Linocuts by Cyganik

        I came across this piece about a week ago, and thought it was appropriate for autumn.  We’re not here yet, actually - most of our trees still have most of their leaves - but I didn’t want  to wait any longer to share the piece.  It’s a linoleum block print by Katarzyna Cyganik.  Her web site, where I found her work, gives no personal information, so I can’t pass any information on to you, but the work is beautiful and somewhat unusual.
        Cyganik has a very skritchy style, lots and lots of thin cuts.  Sometimes her cuts are fairly controlled as in this forest scene in which she’s made a masterful gradation into a misty distance, but sometimes they’re much sketchier.  True to my tastes, my favorites here don’t include the sketchiest pieces, but you can see what I mean if you go to her site yourself.  She also has a number of pieces in which the level of texture is fairly uniform over the whole block, but I like best the ones with some punches of black and white along with the texture.  I love the way the tiny white leaves are so bright against the “grey” background of the forest.  I love the black bicycle and railing against the lighter texture of the snow and the reflecting water.

        This scene of architecture in Kraków shows off the versatility of Cyganik’s carving.  The ground and the shading around the round windows is fairly loose and sketchy, the brickwork of the towers is very controlled.  The dark bush in the right foreground shows up even though it’s against a textured background, a technique I have trouble with, and the pattern of the roof, black grid on a white background, is actually one of the harder and definitely most tedious patterns to carve.  Every individual white rectangle must be carved out without accidentally putting too many cuts into the narrow black bits that must be left between them.
        That laborious technique of carving out tons of little white spaces is all over this final piece, too.  (Between the two lower left butterflies you can see an artifact of this, where Cyganik has neglected to carve out the linoleum from the interior of one of those little shapes.)  What’s particularly interesting here is that the background seems fairly precise while the butterflies, detailed and in the foreground, have a carvier look.  This is the opposite of most artwork.  The effect is also much more like a graphic design than her landscapes and other work.
        All her work is really impressive, and I’m so pleased to have found it.  I hope you enjoy it, too.

[Pictures: Forest, linocut by Katarzyna Cyganik;
Amsterdam, linocut by Cyganik;
Kraków, linocut by Cyganik, 2003;
Butterflies, linocut by Cyganik (All images from linoART Katarzyna Cyganik.)]

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