Rites of Spring
woodcut 20 x 24"
With new woodcuts that celebrate the four seasons and a series of abstract monotypes, Brigitte Schobert continues her discoveries in printmaking.
Does the work in your new exhibition differ than previous work? What are the differences, the similarities?
My new work differs considerably from the previous work. As a reaction to all the crises and disasters the world faced in recent times I wanted to create images that celebrate the joy of life. My style is now much more abstracted and part of my work is totally abstract. Although I often found abstract pictures intriguing and moving, I was unsure whether this style is for me. After attending seminars at the Art Academy in Bad Reichenhall, Germany, I was finally able to overcome a hurdle. Now I enjoy very much creating abstract images, but I am only at the beginning and curious myself where it will take me.
Many artists create digital prints. How are woodcut prints different than digital prints?
Digital art (including photography) is a new and separate field and expanding with the advent of new technologies. Printing from woodcuts is a technique that is many centuries old and has changed very little over time. The fact that the plate/print is handmade and not as perfect as a computer created image adds a certain quality to it. The simplicity or "rough edge" of the shapes, the limited color palette and the grain of the wood all contribute to the austere beauty of the prints from woodcuts.
What excites you about woodcuts?
I like working with a natural material and I definitely like the process of carving. Wooden plates are a very versatile material and I have yet to explore all the possibilities.
woodcut 20 x 24"
Are your print editions limited? How many do you/can you typically print before you’re ready to cancel the plate?
My editions are rather small. Color prints take a long time, because each color is on a separate plate and the oil based inks have to dry between the print runs. If I spend too much time on the press, I don't have time to design and carve new images. Small editions are the only way to balance my time reasonably between printing and creating new images.
I know that your process is time consuming, with that in mind, have you had the time to experiment with any of your processes? If so, would you be willing to share with us the results?
Almost every time I print it is an experiment. It has to do with the different properties of inks from different suppliers, the color of their mixtures, printing different colors on top of each other, the properties of paper etc. Recently I started working on abstract monotypes. This is a completely different and more immediate way of working on the press, because I do not have a prepared image in front of me (or in my head). Also, I do not follow a strict procedure when I transfer inks from plexiglass or aluminum plates of different sizes onto paper. Everything is spontaneous and decided at that moment and right at the press. However, it takes many rounds of printing until I am satisfied and consider the image completed.
Are your family and friends supportive of your art?
Yes they are and it is very valuable to have their support.
Imagine you have to evacuate due to a (fire/flood/tornado) coming. Along with your important papers and family photos you can only save one piece of your art work. Which one do you take and why?
I don't think I would burden myself with my art work in such a situation. John Baldessari had a large portion of his early work cremated and the urn with the ashes was shown in his retrospective. This made me think a lot about attachment to my own art.
Brigitte Schobert in the studio.
Brigitte Schobert's next exhibition begins Septemeber 6, 2011.