Layering light

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Circling Around, 2008
Jean Gumpper


Jean Gumpper's
woodcut prints are mesmerizing. At first glance, the crisp edges and intricate detail are reminiscent of watercolor. But the works are actually pieced out of flat spots of block color, which gives them a stylized, minimalist, modern flavor - like gallery-quality IKEA. The final effect is one I've sometimes seen in quilts: the flatness of the colors and starkness of the edges combine to generate a sparkle and clarity in the complete piece, an illusion of motion through a brightly lit space.

From the artist's statement:

In my work as an artist and printmaker, I respond to landscape as a metaphor for emotions and experiences. Being alone in nature helps me to listen to my intuition and to have the patience necessary to really see. I seek to integrate the memories, sounds and feelings of being in the landscape into the making of the print. The carving of the woodblock and the layering of the ink, for me, echo natural processes such as the layering of leaves, water, trees and light.

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Mira, 2004
Jean Gumpper

Works like Mira have the calm, meditative flavor of Japanese paintings, while others, like Counterpoint, seem to buzz with energy and detail, reminding me of Christopher Reiger's hyperdetailed, saturated paintings. It's amazing to think that all these works are executed as meticulous, challenging woodcuts.

Jean Gumpper is represented by the Davidson Galleries, among others.

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That is some truly remarkable woodcut work. The compositions are reminiscent of Monet's water lilies, yet in surprising detail and complexity.

It's almost hard to believe that depth of realism is achieved through numerous flat colored shapes.

By Joe Leasure (not verified) on 01 May 2009 #permalink

Wow-- what amazing, exciting work. She achieves such diverse qualities with what would seem a limiting medium.