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Helen Frankenthaler’s
woodcuts combine abstract expressionism with the quality and texture of paintings on wood.

“The process is totally different from painting or lithography or etching or anything else,” Frankenthaler says. “As with any other medium, I had to learn from what it offered, what it resisted and what I could bring to it.” Judith Goldman, who is the exhibit’s guest curator and the former print curator of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, says Frankenthaler’s woodcuts are “a landmark in her evolution as an artist and in the evolution of the woodcut medium.”

The woodcut, a notoriously difficult and rigid medium, could not be further from the artistic realm of a gestural, spontaneous painter. As a painter, Frankenthaler’s creative process is driven by the development of a dialogue with the work itself, ‘a fighting, loving dialogue with this piece of material. You force something on it and it gives you an answer back … until you know that this is right.’8 To a certain extent, the work directs her and it evolves out of itself. Therefore, when creating a woodcut, a medium which requires careful planning and numerous technical adjustments, either the style of the artist or the rules governing the medium must shift. Frankenthaler saw the woodcut as a challenge and has been determined not only to learn its language, but to master it.

Frankenthaler has worked with Tyler Graphics in a collaboration that has dramatically shifted the parameters of the woodcut. Frankenthaler’s experimental nature drove her to use paper pulp as a support for her woodcut Freefall, 1993and hand-dyed paper for Radius, 1993. The artist experimented with the combination of woodcut and other print techniques such as lithography in All about blue, 1994 and etching and aquatint in Ariel, 1996. By casting the rules aside, Frankenthaler has succeeded in coercing the woodcut into yielding printed works bearing the hallmarks of her unique lyrical style. The woodcut is no longer solely the medium of the graphic artist working alone in the studio; it is now also a medium to explore the abstract, a medium of collaboration, the medium of an entire print workshop working in sync with an artist.

In The Tales of Genji Helen Frankenthaler has created a series of six exquisite woodcuts. Working closely with Yasuyuki Shibata (a master of ukiyo-e printmaking), she has forged a new process that brings her unmistakable style to the ancient medium of woodblock printing.

Description: Hard bound with dust jacket. Published on the occasion of the 2002 exhibition in association with George Braziller. A very nice copy, bright and clean. Scarce hardbound!.

Bookseller Inventory # 16590


Frankenthaler: The Woodcuts
Goldman, Judith;Frankenthaler, Helen

ISBN: 0807615099
Publisher: Naples Museum of Art, Florida
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Hard Cover
Book Condition: Near Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine
Edition: First Edition

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