Exhibition Review: Woodcuts Now at the BMA

The exhibition Woodcuts Now at the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) presented an interesting selection of new uses for what is perhaps the oldest printmaking technique. For me the highlights of the show were the works of Christiana Baumgartner, Mel Kendrick, and Chuck Close. Baumgartner’s works were particularly impressive and looked like giant wood engravings even as they were based on stills from her video pieces. Close’s color woodcut, made with Karl Hechsher, raised many interesting questions of facture as its multi-colored appearance imitated Close’s paintings amd was apparently produced by the use of both stencils and a matrix which had been cut apart jigsaw-fashion with the pieces being inked individually.. Finally, Kendrick’s work had an impressive sculptural quality that also drew attention to the matrix and its production, as the marks of the wood itself as well as saw marks were clearly visible in the print.

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