Stewart Nachmias – Pulp Icons: Cast Paper & Prints (May 31 – Aug. 23, 2014)

Stewart Nachmias - Coney Island Icons - Cast paper, woodcut

Stewart Nachmias – Coney Island Icons – Cast paper, woodcut

(East Gallery) These cast paper woodcuts reflect aspects of the artist’s life, transformed into bold, graphic images. The prints show him performing puppet shows, playing music and working as a printmaker. There are mandalas that use a circular format, with each devoted to a single subject including clowns and puppeteering. Many of the prints depict an individual in the city, and feature the density and intensity of city life. Urban architecture, with its looming buildings, water tanks and bridges, play a central role in this work.

These prints are expressionist in feeling, concentrating on the visual energy of black lines and strong color. They draw from the German Expressionist tradition, which looks at the life around us through the lens of personal emotion.

The cast paper woodcuts began over twenty years ago, and have continued ever since. In this medium, woodcuts take on a three-dimensional quality, giving the images a tactile immediacy. The process involves carving a wood block very deeply, and then inking it up. Before printing, paper pulp made and dyed by the artist is applied to the wood cut mold in a painterly fashion. Nails, mirrors and other objects are often embedded in these deep paper casts.

Stewart Nachmias - Cracked Hands - Cast paper, woodcut

Stewart Nachmias – Cracked Hands – Cast paper, woodcut

As with the artist’s intaglio prints, each impression is different – each act of printing involves working with a new set of guided improvisations in color and texture. Some of the recent, complex works have involved multiple blocks that yield cast pieces which are then assembled to create the finished print. The depth of some of the prints are over two inches and become sculptural in their impact.

Although these are multiples, each one is unique. While being made, each print takes on its own life, with its own capacity to evoke excitement, humor and a sense of personal narrative.

This exhibition was curated by Katharine T. Carter through Katharine T. Carter & Associates.

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