Linoleum block printmaking was discovered around the turn of the last century as an easier, faster, and more economical alternative to the more painstaking process of creating woodblock prints. Invented by the English manufacturer Frederick Walton (1834-1928) in 1855 and patented in 1863, linoleum had primarily been used as a floor covering; its adaptation as an art medium by the end of the century is somewhat paradoxical in that it employed a factory-made product to create a decidedly personal, handmade form of art that otherwise was in line with the ideals of the Arts and Crafts Movement.
Linocuts are produced by carving a design into a piece of linoleum. Like other forms of relief printing, the sections intended to be white are carved away and the remaining sections intended to be seen are left uncarved. The linoleum is then inked with a brayer (roller) and pressed onto paper either by hand (with a baren, or with the back of a wooden spoon) or run through an etching press. The print is pulled from the linoleum block and allowed to dry. Many linocuts are monochromatic, usually made with black printing ink. More complex linocuts, however, use multiple layers of color, either using separate linoleum blocks or with what is called a reduction print, in which one block is printed in one color, carved again, then printed with a different color atop the original print.
In Britain, where the medium remains attractive to many highly-skilled artisans, linoleum block printmaking was first promoted around 1907 by artist and entrepreneur Charles E. Dawson, who claimed to have invented the process years earlier while searching for an easily-attained and quickly-produced medium for students in his mail correspondence art course (while several artists in the United States seem to have made the discovery slightly earlier, it is possible that Dawson coined and popularized the term lino-cut through his numerous articles on the subject). The painter and art professor Arthur Wesley Dow (1857-1922) was an early champion of the medium in America, using it to teach design principles in his courses at Teachers College, Columbia University. Around the First World War, the German Expressionists also experimented with linocuts, as later would Henri Matisse (1869-1954) and Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). Linocuts were the primary focus of the famed Grosvenor School, a group of artists from London’s Grosvenor School of Modern Art. The group’s Modernist sensibilities and experiments in color linocuts brought the medium closer to the realm of high art in the years between the wars . Of the artists on view in this exhibition, British printmaker Ant Savage most closely embodies the aesthetic style of the Grosvenor School.
Over the years linocut printmaking has been viewed, with the few exceptions mentioned above, as a populist endeavor often associated with hobbyists or with the generations of schoolchildren who once learned the process as part of their elementary arts education (undoubtedly with a considerable number of cut fingers and gouged little hands along the way). The popularity and ease of creating visually-interesting linocuts with readily-acquired and relatively inexpensive materials has relegated linocut printmaking to a place akin to that of folk art—quaintly democratic and accessible to the masses in terms of its creation and appreciation. It is in this egalitarian spirit, however, that this exhibition explores the possibilities of the medium as expressed by a wide range of international printmakers.
Brian Edward Hack, Ph.D.
Vincent de Boer (b. Denmark, living in Germany)
Man in a Top Hat, 2021
Moïra Swann(Montargis, France)
Vanessa Jo Bahr(Oregon, USA)
Put Your Gold Money Where Your Love Is, Baby, 2022
WushLinoArt (New York, USA)
Beijing Opera, 2020
Matthew Poole (b. England, living in Australia)
Don’t Move, 2022
6 - 9
Ant Savage(Bedford, England)
The Painters 2, 2021
Speed of Light, 2021
Becky McIntyre(Pennsylvania, USA)
Dismantle the System, 2021
11 - 13
Cam Spangler (Nebraska, USA)
Two Birds, 2022
14 – 15
Karin Rytter (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Crow Lady No. 3, 2022
Paula Kempker(Berlin, Germany)
Position Finding 3, 2022
Woman Smelling Flowers, 2021
Danielle Heilweil(New Jersey, USA)
19 – 21
Tymek Jezierski(Warsaw, Poland)
Hic et Nunc(Here and Now), 2021
Good Morning!, 2021
Rachel LaGruth Blakemore(Ohio, USA)
23 – 24
In for the Night, 2022
12 x 9 inches
Winter Blanket, 2022
9 x 12 inches
Georgie Moore(Dorchester, England)
Hanna Maria Clark
Tom van Aurich(b. The Netherlands, living in UK)
Seascape with Bamburgh Castle, 2021
Sharonda Quainoo (Berlin, Germany)
The Smiths (There Is A Light That Never Goes Out), 2022
2-Color Print with Yellow Ink
Camille Davis(Iowa, USA)
Gavin Hillage(London, UK)
In Good Taste, 2022
Cécile Bernard(Brittany, France)
2 Color Linocut
33 - 36
Alexei Yazykov(b. Russia, living in England)
Zelensky, 4 April 2022, Bucha, 2022
This Is How It Feels, 2022
I Am Not Weak (Lesya Ukrainka), 2022
37 - 38
Dasha Berezhna(Cherkasy, Ukraine)
39 – 42
Charles State(Michigan, USA)
Sad Boys, 2021
I Love You Dr. Zaius, 2022
43 – 46
You and I
Tom Callos(Idaho, USA)
18 x 24 Portrait Linocuts, North Wall:
Ernest Hemingway, 2022
Alice Roosevelt, 2022
Henry S. Okazaki, 2021
Harriet Tubman, 2022
Marie Curie, 2021
Helen Frankenthaler, 2022
Pablo Picasso, 2022
11 x 14 Portrait Linocuts, East Wall:
Georgia O’Keeffe, 2021
Amelia Earhart, 2021
W.E.B. Du Bois, 2022
Maya Angelou, 2017
Vivian Maier, 2021
Jane Goodall, 2019
KAM would like to thank the following for their generous assistance in making this exhibition possible: Sable Spellman; Tom Callos; Tosin Oyeniyi; Alexi Yazykov; Ant Savage; Tymek Jezierski; William Hays; and Dr. Caterina Y. Pierre
Tom van Aurich(UK)
Initially working as an apprentice industrial engraver in Holland, as a young man I moved to England to start working in all the facets of offset printing. During the first few years I completed a typographic design course in Reading College of Art & Design. After retiring from a career in commercial printing and graphic design, with little time for hobbies, the possibilities of exploring new ways of creating initially led me to acrylic painting. Then, by chance, came across the varied expressions via linocut. After a one-day workshop with a local linocut artist I was fully drawn into this wonderful way of creative print-making. Having relatively little studio space I’m able to create linocut and Japanese woodblock design at my desk. Subsequent printing takes over the kitchen from time to time. My subjects are varied but often inspired by the places I visit with my wife around the country. Always having been fascinated by the sea; boats & harbours tend to feature quite regularly. Holidays around Europe provide further inspiration.
This work [Woman Smelling Flowers], which I got its first edition in 2021, is also important to me as it is my first design. A quote from two beautiful creatures of nature. Woman and flower. Sometimes one is more beautiful than the other, but together they are the most beautiful. It represents the resemblance, interaction and pleasure of two beauties.
Vanessa Jo Bahr (USA)
My work strives to confront viewers with our violent ecological history. I hope acknowledgment of our past digressions will inspire a reassessment of our impact as co-habitants on this land. A renewal of conservationism and sustainability is necessary for our future to even exist at all. I create art as a form of activism and land stewardship that seeks to foster mutualism and interspecies intimacy facilitated through the reciprocity of printmaking. I aspire to evoke deep reverence and respect for our inherent ecological bond with our plant and animal kin before they fade into distant memories due to human negligence.
Dasha Berezhna (Ukraine)
The more advanced our technology, the most distant we become from nature. In my prints and artworks, I encourage people to keep their thoughts, words and actions simple. To look for meanings and answers in nature, to be closer to nature and to protect it. It is beautiful in any season. With the help of graphic techniques (including digital), I try to capture nature's images and transfer them through my prism of perception in our homes, so that we would be closer to nature and could make our homes cozier and more colorful.
I am a French designer living in Brittany. My work is all about creating images that tell stories. I love tales, and sometimes rely on them for inspiration. Poetry and words are also a great source for me, my work (engraving and photography) is strongly influenced by them. I am a multi material designer and I work with textile, paper often sewing them together or making collages.
Vincent de Boer(Denmark)
Black and white. The dichotomy between the darkest and the brightest acts as a guideline through the vast majority of my work and keeps inspiring me over and over again. Reducing the image to the absolute minimum of colour gets, in my perspective, to the core of what printmaking represents. It demands decisiveness for what may stay and what may go, and determination to irretrievably go for it once I have made up my mind. For the art of printmaking only knows these two options – printing and not printing – black and white.
Looking at the Man with Top Hat makes me think of what printmaking also is. It is like working in the fog, unable to see the outcome which even after hundreds of plates still remains unpredictable. Decisiveness and determination always come with blurry vision. Nothing can be undone, so there is no reason to look back. And at the end, when I am about to step out of the fog, I hope to see the light. And I pray for it to be what I have imagined it to be. Gladly, it seldomly is though.
Tom Callos (USA)
I am a veteran practitioner, student, and citizen-teacher of the martial arts --and an artist who makes, among other things, block prints that suit my fancy.
Hanna Maria Clark (USA)
My work evolves from merging patterns and snapshots from my surroundings into hand-pulled linoleum block and screen prints. The imagery is often a blend of elements of nature and geometric shapes or abstract textures combined to explore the layers of memory and experience within physical space. I studied printmaking at the University of Michigan and the University of Idaho.
Rachel LaGruth Blakemore(USA)
Growing up near the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio has led me to have a lifelong fascination with space. It is a beautiful miracle that we currently inhabit a planet that is perfectly designed to meet all of our needs to survive. However, I admire the countless people who have spent decades expanding our knowledge of the planets and moons existing within and outside of our solar system. If there were a day that I wish I could travel back in time to experience myself, it would be the day the Apollo 11 mission landed on the moon in 1969. It is truly incredible what humankind can accomplish through scientific invention and ingenuity, and the moon landing is an example of that. Printmaking has become my main medium in the past few years, and I wanted to make a print inspired by the accomplishments of the bright minds that landed us on the moon.
Landscape is the foundation of my inspiration. I often work more from memory or an impression than from a particular place. The compositions are the framework on which I hang a sequence of layered colors in rhythmic patterns to create a mood and a harmonious image. Using reduction printing techniques and, often, multiple blocks allows me a level of complexity that suits my drive to create artworks which evoke my imaginings, my experiences, my creations.
The technical challenges and severe limitations of the medium have become a part of my natural vocabulary over time. I have become very fluid in that I frequently change aspects of my original design as I go along. I'll sometimes add additional blocks as I progress. The process of carving and printing an edition offers me much, meditative time to consider every aspect of each print as I am working. Most of the decisions about color are made during this time according to what has come before in the sequence of printing.
I am a self-taught printmaking artist and began printmaking in 2020 during the pandemic. I minored in fine arts in my undergraduate and graduate career, and majored in psychology and art therapy. I am currently working full-time as a mental health counselor and art therapist, and the act of creating, carving and printing serves as a form of my own personal therapy. I am largely inspired by nature, animals, and psychology, and the interconnectedness of all things.
The linocut series Uncertain Places is a collection of temporary conditions, an attempt to take stock of remembered and internalized places. (The accuracy of the observation should be questioned.)
Becky McIntyre (USA)
I am a creative printmaker, painter and muralist, traveling around under the sun finding spaces to create, grow, reflect, and connect. Building community with others and inspiration from the natural world fuel me in the creative process. For me, the process is spiritual – it allows me to reflect through my interior self and my experiences, to express what’s going on in the outside world, and to meet and work together with so many incredible people – all the places where I find the Spirit resides. I seek to use my art to bring awareness to sociopolitical issues of justice and to activate and inspire new ways of being. I believe in restorative and transformative justice and healing and believe that art can help in the facilitation of these processes.
This piece was created for the June 2021 Los Angeles Catholic Worker Agitator newspaper, written around the time of Derek Chauvin’s conviction. It was created to demonstrate the work of and the need for dismantling, both from within and from the outside, of the systems of oppression that exist and infiltrate our society - inside us and around us. We are working to destroy these systems as we grow and rebuild while we are still chained to them and living within them ourselves.
From a young age, something was always being made, mended or repurposed in our home. My mum taught me to knit, sew, cook and crochet. There was a programme called 'Paint Along with Nancy Kominsky'. I was obsessed with it and other similar shows, so my mum bought me a beginner oil painting set. I still have that set to this day. However, it wasn't until I went to Upper school that I discovered my passion for drawing and painting.
I attended Swindon School of Art in England and earned a Higher National Diploma in Illustration in 1992. My passion for Lino printing was ignited. I loved how cutting some grooves into a block transformed into crisp lines or bold shapes on paper. I could forget everything and immerse myself in the whole process. It felt, every time, like a journey of self-discovery. However, like many female artists my age, I put my art box aside to bring up my two children. As adults, they have been encouraging me to continue my art story.
I use single, reduction or multi-block relief-printing techniques, printing on heavyweight art papers or delicate Japanese hand-made ones. I design every element of my print. Sometimes the idea comes to me in a flash. I can see the completed image in my mind's eye. From then on, it becomes my goal to translate that onto the block and bring the final print to life.
I also love to print on tissue paper. Sometimes I layer these hand-printed papers onto a substrate, creating depth, gorgeous tones and intriguing patterns. These unpredicted changes across the work give them a degree of spontaneity.
I have always wanted my work to portray positive, uplifting imagery, primarily calling on nature to inspire me. As a black English woman of Jamaican parentage, I have felt a strong urge to find and express more of myself through my imagery. To this end, I have started to include Adinkra symbols from Ghana within my prints. They speak of life, love, work, friendships and God. They link me to ancestors unknown and a heritage that I have lost. I want some of my work to reflect what I would have loved to have seen as a black English girl growing up in England. I want to portray images that black girls can relate to, see themselves in and find inspiring.
Tosin Oyeniyi (Nigeria)
Printmaker Tom Callos on his friend Tosin Oyeniyi:
Tosin's compositions, use of color, bold carving style, and the subject matter he chooses, make his work something to behold. I (Tom Callos), like many artists, follow hundreds of linocut and relief print artists, from all over the world, on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and other social media platforms. When I first saw Tosin doing a video "reveal" of one of his prints, I was shocked and surprised by the quality of the work, of Tosin's eye and sense of style, by the size of his prints, and by his brave use of color.
Tosin Oneyini is, I believe, at the beginning of what is going to become a legendary art career. He is already, at age 35, producing work that makes one stop, look, and listen.
Matthew Poole(b. England, living in Melbourne, Australia)
Linocuts have intrigued me since I first saw the work of the twentieth century Australian artist Noel Counihan. He was a communist and social activist, campaigning for better conditions for working people, an end to war, and for freedom of speech.
I began to work with linocuts just before COVID-19 turned the world upside down. I had experimented with lino throughout 2019 with waning interest. However, like so many people, the enforced isolation that came with the early stages of the pandemic gave me time I had not previously had, and in that strange world cut off from so many normal human interactions, I had time for my art and for introspection.
Sharonda Quainoo(Berlin, Germany)
Sharonda Quainoo is a Berlin native with Ghanaian roots. In her artistic work she explores topics such as representation, identity, West African mysticism, sensuality and ornament.
I’m a self-taught artist living and working on the English canals on a narrowboat.
I’ve always had an interest in art and specifically drawing and illustration. I started developing my skills as a print maker during the pandemic. It became an outlet during this time and quickly became my full-time job and source of income. During my exploration of Print work, I drew inspiration from the techniques seen from the Grosvenor school. After 25 years working as a painter and decorator my work and artistic process was influenced by the working class and creating affordable art reflective of this environment. My life experiences and the changing social climate often pop into my images, alongside the new and old settings of the English canals from which I live and travel. I work simply in a small space without high end equipment like presses. Everything is hand printed.
I’m interested in the movement within a static image and draw inspiration from the repetitive nature of human behaviour. Often there is an element of changing perspective or distortion in my work. I am relatively new to print making and I’m still learning to navigate the world as an aspiring artist.
Charles State(Michigan, USA)
My pieces are oftentimes a way to deal with my own poor attitude. So, I will pair my negative thoughts or ideas with fanciful or childish imagery to deal with how foolish I am being.
Moïra Swann (Montargis, France)
When I was told that my work would be part of the present exhibition, I reacted quite like the woman of this print: putting my hand to my chest with emotion but keeping a pensive gaze at the same time. I was feeling both grateful and shy. Standing back. In a state of contemplation – which is actually the title of this print.
I started linocut printing 4 years ago as an affordable way to experiment Japanese woodblock printing because I was fond of Ukiyo-e engravings. But since this moment, it turned out to be a real passion: I like linocut printing for it conveys strength and spirit to any design. Also, I love the wide world of colours and textures you can explore with just one block. This one has been freely inspired by the marvelous Japanese actress Mariko Okada in “Onna no Mizuumi” (1966), a black and white movie by her husband Yoshishige Yoshida. In many ways, I consider that this print combines two of my main inspirations: traditional Japanese art and French 19th century art. On one side, the feminine subject falls within the Bijin-ga style, which depicts Japanese beauties in the Ukiyo-e art as you can see it in Kitagawa Utamaro or Hashiguchi Goyo’s prints. On the other side, the deep black area reminds the minimalism and the intimacy of the black and white woodblock prints by the French Nabi artist Félix Vallotton. In other words, despite its lack of colours (which is quite unusual in my work) I regard this print as a synthesis of my creative journey to this day. And when I think that my modest print is exhibited far from the country where I live, across the ocean, it makes me feel as if I was suddenly “emerging from the shadow.”
Alexei Yazykov(b. Russia, living in Surrey, England)
I aim to produce visually striking images that lodge in the viewers’ mind and trade complexity for simplicity that eliminates noise and focuses on the message – but it is for the viewer to decide what the message actually is. I want people to instinctively respond to something that draws in the eye but also provides room for interpretation.
But what drives me most is finding the way to capture and express all this desperately wonderful, beautiful, cruel and sad world in which we live, its everyday fragile and fleeting moments and us in it – lost and vulnerable and often not knowing what to do with ourselves. I feel and believe that by creating we extend ourselves and our reality and time. This is the way to enlarge ourselves and translate into something lasting. Every time we see or encounter something profound or beautiful or tragic we want to recreate, record it - in photos, paintings, music, prose - and add a human touch to it.
The ongoing war in Ukraine cannot leave anyone untouched and I felt the need to reflect on the human dimension of it - on crashed lives and destroyed hopes and warped souls. For example, in the portrait of Zelensky I tried to synthesize the sorrow and pain, the desperate attempt to comprehend the scale of atrocities that people can inflict on each other but also to show Ukrainians’ determination, their resolve to overcome, to defend, protect, persevere. For me this image is the crystallization of the emotions of the nation under siege – in all their pain and glory.
And if my prints made someone pause for a minute – then I have succeeded.