November 17, 2017

Zofrea's Harvest

        As we near Thanksgiving, here’s a wood block print of the harvest.  Salvatore Zofrea (Italy/Australia, b. 1946) has a distinctive technique in which his white figures have a black outline and a white outline.  Clearly he first carves an outline of every shape regardless of whether it will eventually be up against a white or a black background.  He then goes on to carve out white areas, carefully leaving their black outlines, thus giving them that double border.  In this harvest piece there is an over-all texture of lines for the long stalks, growing, cut, gathered, fallen… everywhere.  It certainly looks like hard work.
        I’ve included a second piece by Zofrea that I especially like, entitled “My mother’s hands.”  I love how well the sketchy texture of the carving makes accurate details of wrinkles, veins, and skin.  The close focus on the hands laid in the lap is quite lovely.  This comes from a series of pieces illustrating the artist’s life.
        These are actually quite large pieces, for woodcuts.  The harvest scene is 60x90 cm (24x 36 in).  Seeing only small images on-line, it’s hard for me to get a sense of the impact they would have in person, at full size.  Still, better a small view than none at all!

[Pictures: Harvesting, from the series Capricornia, woodcut by Salvatore Zofrea, 1989;
My mother’s hands, from the suite Appassionata, woodcut by Zofrea, 1994-9 (Images from Art Gallery NSW).]

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