I found some interesting information in a number of dated issues of Printmaking Today. This particular issue was dedicated to exploring the development of printmaking in the far east. In China, printmaking started in the 1930s, but due to restrictive conditions at the time caused by the war, priority was given to the woodcut. The Fine Art Academy of Lu Xun of the war period essentially became a department of woodcut printing.

It was obvious of the priority given to woodcut, but, because of the lack of progress for other artists in using printmaking, so they too made wood cuts when they came to work there.

I found another interesting article about an exhibition in protestation of the conflict in Iraq.  Artists Peter Kennard & Cat Philips made an award winning portfolio that was triggered by their “need to find a way to express our disgust with the war against Iraq and their impotence in the face of the raging terrorism committed in the name of democracy.” 

The work all has a photographic origin. The traditional “hard-core”  journalistic photography was not enough for the gritty realism that was needed. Kennerd wanted to increase the horror of what goes on by including a degree of realism.

Kennard’s early inspiration came from Picasso, Bacon, Sutherland, Giacometti. However, he became frustrated with the fact that they had an unwonted fluidity. No matter what form the painting originally took, through the various methods and techniques used in the process, the end result always bore very little relation to the original image – and the message that was intended to come across.

He decided to use photography, as this is the most realistic way of portraying the horrors that were taking place. How could it be made more vivid? The displays of cruelty more poignant?

They did this by using dirt, blood, oil and digital technology. This brought the real world into the photograph – it made the glossy picture a brutal reminder of the actual issues going on. Even if the the photograph has a graphic and horrific image, it is still like looking through a window at the view…its not real. This is was Kennard wanted to over come by making a “4D” image.

The images of the terrorized Iraqi prisoners of war, a blasted torso lying in the street, the crater of a misdirected missile. All the more gruesome having been covered in ink, dust, blood and oil.

 

Ref: Printmaking Today, Volume 5, Number 1, 1996, P16

Ref: Printmaking Today, Issue 6, P 6 & 7, Spring ’06

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