If there is, indeed, nothing lovelier than a tree, Connecticut-based artist Bryan Nash Gill shows us why. Creating large-scale relief prints from the cross sections of trees, the artist reveals the sublime power locked inside their arboreal rings. Gill creates patterns not only of great beauty but also year-by-year records of the life and times of fallen or damaged logs. He rescues the wood from the property surrounding his studio and neighboring land, extracts and prepares blocks of various species (including ash, maple, oak, spruce, and willow), then makes prints by carefully following and pressing the contours of rings and ridges until the intricate designs transfer from tree to paper. The results are colored, nuanced shapes-mesmerizing impressions of the structural integrity hidden inside each tree. These exquisitely detailed prints are collected and published here for the first time, with an introduction by esteemed nature writer Verlyn Klinkenborg and an interview with the artist describing his labor-intensive printmaking process. Also featured are Gill's series of printed lumber and offcuts, such as burls, branches, knots, and scrubs. Woodcut will appeal to anybody who appreciates the grandeur and mystery of trees, as well as those who work with wood and marvel at the rich history embedded in its growth.
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
Number of pages: 128
Weight: 610 g
Dimensions: 213 x 231 x 19 mm
It's a strangely moving experience to flip through Woodcut (Princeton Architectural Press, $30), a book of Bryan Nash Gill's relief prints of tree-trunk cross sections, which the artist harvests from felled trees, cedar telephone poles and discarded fence posts in his native Connecticut. One is struck by how Gill's method - cutting blocks with a chain saw, sanding them down, burning them and sealing them with shellac - amplifies the events in the life of a tree: lightning strikes, burgeoning burls, insect holes and, of course, the aging process, evidence of which radiates out in transfixing patterns. Verlyn Klinkenborg, who also writes for The New York Times, describes these cross sections in the book's preface as "the death mask of a plant, the sustained rigor mortis" of maple, spruce and locust. They remind us, he says, that every biological form "possesses a unique footprint." --- T: The New York Times Style Magazine
"With this mesmerizing series, Bryan Nash Gill doesn't just bridge the gap between abstraction and representation, object and subject-- he closes them. WOODCUT confirms Gill's place as one of the most inventive, inspired artists working today" -- Tod Lippy, Esopus magazine
"A swell coffee table companion for hip young DIY-ers who cultivate a lumberjack look that says they've come straight from splitting firewood, the new book "Woodcut" is also likely to appeal to a much wider audience." -- Wall Street Journal