Sherrie York – Reduction Linocut Printmaking
When I was in art school, my teachers often cautioned against making work too attractive. They would dismiss work that was visually appealing as “too easy”. I guess in retrospect what they meant was that it’s easy to enjoy decorative work but it’s also possible to have your work dismissed as merely decorative if it’s too attractive or whatever. I disagree with this worldview, and think it’s a real disservice not only to art, artists, and art lovers but the visual landscape as a whole. No, I don’t think people should buy art prints to match their sofa, but that really has nothing to do with the art itself. In this vein, when I was introduced to the work of Sherrie York through the Lines and Colors art blog, I was immediately captivated by the rich visual pleasure I experienced but more than that, the craftsmanship and oh, I don’t know… honesty? There’s something deeply refreshing about somebody who simply makes art based on their experience of nature. We don’t all have to be exploring the implicit tension between modes of art history or whatever.
York is a Colorado-based artist whose primary method of artmaking is printmaking with reduction linocuts. Basically, she does successive prints with the same carved block, carving away a bit more of the surface with each successive layer of the print. The resulting images are a bit reminiscent of late 19th century graphic design but have an entirely modern sense of colour and form that are simply exquisite. She explains the process in some detail here. As craft this approach is really quite impressive, and York’s technical execution is impeccable.