Richard Metz – “Radicchio” woodcut and watercolor

Richard Metz  – “Radicchio” woodcut and watercolor

My intention with Plant Character prints is to create expressive works that embody what I imagine might be the spirits or personalities of the plants and trees in the forests and fields that I kno. These works are in the larger realm of Nature Mythology. One goal is to suggest to the viewer to a more intense feeling of identification with natural environment. While these are obviously constructed images, I wanted a wild, untamed feeling to exude from the works. They are not like conventional nature works but more icons, or drawings. I begin by making drawings of magnified observation of flowers anbuds, and allowing these shapes to suggest faces. The resulting anthropomorphic images have exaggerated and wonderful emo-tional states.  They are both familiar portraits and strange, humorous, hybrid creations. The style comes from certain expressionist woodcut ideas, comic book designs, and the strange otherworldly shapes of the plants themselves.  For me, these works express my connection with the natural world, but also pay homage to the works of the Iroquois mask makers who saw the spirits of the forest, Jean Dubuffet and his interest in the art of children and the insane, and Theodore Geisel, a master of hybrid creations.  As part of my environmentalist ideas, it is important to me that this work can be done without the reliance on advanced technology. I cut the wood  and Linoleum blocks by hand, print them by hand, and make some of the watercolors from powdered pigments. This process allows me to have greater degree of control over the work and my effect on the environment. Prints have been created by artists to reach larger audiences. They allow experimentation and constant refinement of theimage. I like how the print is a kind of drawing that is fixed into a sculpture, in the block.The primacy of design in these prints, black and white forms with the addition of color, is part of their strength and character. There is something quite wonderful in the physicality of the imprint of the image on the paper as well.


Posted on

October 10, 2017