February 24, 2008

The Alphabet of Trees

Filed under: Art and Drawings,Events — sarah @ 3:16 pm

This week I went to the Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum, Clarence Street, Cheltenham. In gallery 13 they always have special exhibits which at the moment is the Alphabet of Trees.

This was quite an interesting exhibition with what I thought of as quite dark monochrome pictures with suggestive shapes lurking within them. Each print corresponds to a short poem, each of which represents a word to do with plants and trees starting with a different letter of the alphabet. The poems, to my mind, were also dark.

The poems belong to Philip Sharpe and the pictures were a visualisation of these, created by Andrew Judd. I think it was thought-provoking in itself but I also liked the explanation of how the pictures were created.

From the information available about the prints at the museum they were created by relief printing using two blocks – a main or key block, which I assume provided the main body of each picture, and a second tonal block. The main block was cut into lino (linoleum) whilst the secondary blocks used a variety of media such as:

  • Wood cuts

  • An etching technique involving marking the surface of a lino block with caustic soda – at the museum it said the surface was ‘bitten’ with the soda

  • Sand or salt stuck to a block which creates a texture when used with some sort of acrylics

The prints were based on charcoal landscapes that were turned into mono-images from which the printing blocks were cut.

If you happen to be around Cheltenham then it’s worth a look – the museum’s free. Unfortunately this display finishes on the 8th of March. There is apparently a book for sale containing the pictures so once I have sorted out my Amazon account I will add it to this post! Along with more info on printing.

One response to “The Alphabet of Trees”

  1. […] while ago we went to Cheltenham museum and as part of one of the exhibits the children could make leaves to hang on a tree. My husband made this leaf with our two year […]

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