Saturday, 1 June 2013

Bryan Nash Gill

I discovered this chap whilst researching the method required to take an intaglio print off of a tree stump so all you got would be the tree's annual rings on the piece of paper. I know this is a bit wacky for me to be looking into this, and completely not the usual type of work that I post here, and you might be wondering why I am thinking about this type of process. All I can say is that it was just an idea that popped into my mind for a sideline project I am working on at the moment. Anyway, I just had to share Bryan's work with you all here because I a think it is utterly fabulous. He does all sorts of work as an artist but it is his 'woodcut' prints which fascinate me the most. I really want to see his work in the flesh*, alas I will have to make do with the internet and his book called 'Woodcut' for now. 



Hemlock 82 (below) is particularly interesting to look at (right click it and open it in a new tab them blow it up nice and big).  It almost looks three dimensional, like the contour lines on an ordinate survey map. I think what is so intriguing about these pieces is what they represent on a multitude of levels. I find that on first glance they take on different forms so that they look like maps, spillages, exploded bombs from the air, ripples on a pond, solar systems, paddy fields, eye irises, black holes  - I could go on forever. However, when you look closer at them, one starts to study each ring and the view point shifts. I personally find myself looking back through time and wondering what the conditions were like in the years gone by. Then I start comparing the different imprints left by different tree species, or imprints by the same species only grown in different areas. Studying these 'tree portraits' is simply fascinating and an extremely grounding experience.

Hemlock 82 by Bryan Nash Gill ©
 Hemlock 82 by Bryan Nash Gill ©

Honey Locust 1/1 by Bryan Nash Gill ©
 Honey Locust 1/1 by Bryan Nash Gill ©

Pine II by Bryan Nash Gill ©
 Pine II by Bryan Nash Gill ©

Willow by Bryan Nash Gill ©
Willow by Bryan Nash Gill ©


Bryan has just had a show at the Botanic Gardens in Chicago. He has a book which you can buy in most book shops called 'Woodcut'.

2 comments:

  1. At first glance on seeing the title of your post I immediately thought about Dorothy Gill Barnes who does wondrous things with wood - bark mostly http://www.browngrotta.com/Pages/barnes.php
    But no, this guy is different, and I must thank you so much for the introduction both to his work and to the idea of relief printing from wood ends. Just yesterday I was looking at the ends of cut yew in our church yard, marvelling, and wondering if there was anything I could do from them. It might come to naught, but it is worth thinking about. So thanks for the stimulus.
    I also look forward to seeing what you do with your printing ideas - you say that you are interested in intaglio rather than relief printing, so I await with interest.

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    1. I am glad you found this post so inspiring Olga! I have had a look at Dorothy's work - superb. She reminds me of a lady called Dail Behennah. Dail is a basketer, but she doesn't always work in wood. Amazing what people do isn't it?! I really hope you can do something with your yew ends. Thanks for commenting on the post, it is so wonderful to hear people's thoughts. As for my intaglio, not sure, it might end up being relief but still experimenting. I want to put images on the rings you see...

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