June 2, 2023

Carter's Landscapes

         Thayer Carter is a painter and printmaker who began in New England, has travelled extensively, and now lives in New Mexico.  The travel is a key element in his work, as most of his scenes are views of specific places.  I’ve picked four that are particularly pleasing to me.
        I’ll start with the one that caught my attention in the first place, a view of the tiled rooftops of a city in Ecuador.  I’m a sucker for rooftop views, as you can see in many a previous post (including some by Ross, Bewick, Xiang, and Escher here and here).  There’s a nice variety of patterns in this one by Carter, all punctuated by the spires.
        A very different landscape is this tree caught in the sunlight.  Hills and ocean in the background just serve to set off the glorious halo of light.  This is a scene from a provincial park in Newfoundland.  It certainly looks idyllic in this deceptively simple woodcut.  Carter has made all the right choices about black and white and pattern.
        Another piece in which very simple lines build up into something much more complex, this grove of saguaro cactuses pleases me greatly.  I like the way the spines are mostly portrayed by tiny dots, and only around the edges are they lines.  Some of the cactuses are suggested by nothing except an outline of little criss-crossed spines.  This implies a wonderful sense of 
light.  The rest of the ridges and shape of the saguaros are portrayed with simple squiggly lines, but the arrangement of white and black again gives us a dramatic desert light.
        Finally, another architectural scene.  Once again, Carter does a wonderful job of catching the light.  The window frames are not outlined at all on the side where the light is strong, and areas in shadow are stark, solid black.  My favorite thing about this one is the power lines.  Generally when I take photographs when I’m travelling, I hate the intrusion of power lines into my pictures, especially when I’m photographing older architecture.  But here it’s become not a flaw but a feature, and the lines make a wonderful graphic design.
        Carter is another of those hundreds, if not thousands of block print artists that are not exactly household names, but who are doing incredible work that deserves to be seen and appreciated by more people.

[Pictures: Cuenca, Ecuador, woodcut by Thayer Carter, 2016;

Dildo’s Run, woodcut by Carter, 2019;

Saguaro, Sabino Canyon AZ, woodcut by Carter, 2008;

Arequipa, Peru II, woodcut by Carter, 2016 (All images from thayercarter.com).]

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