In Summer 2017 Emma Stibbon began printing Caldera Overlook, her largest work to date, which measures 214 x 372 cm. The woodcut, an edition of 10, evokes the glow of a volcanic crater through lush rainforest as witnessed by Stibbon during her 2016 residency with the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.
“Woodcut has this graphic impact that can give tonal drama to an image. I worked in two sets of blocks, the blended under colour and then a second black block that sits on top. I was thinking about Japanese artists like Hokusai and Hiroshige who achieve this beautiful blend of colour on the block – a technique called bokashi. Woodcut has an organic feel to it; you have the grain of the wood obviously, but this also determines the marks you can cut because it’s more difficult to cut against the grain. I quite like that rawness as opposed to something flat and inert like lino. It also seemed appropriate to use wood to depict a rain forest. I’ve always felt attracted to woodcut – you are cutting your highlights out of a dark plane. It’s a kind of dark, god-like thing to illuminate something as opposed to building up a tonal image on a white page.”
Printed by the artist and Amy-Jane Blackhall of INK on PAPER PRESS, assisted by Lisa Takahashi, at Spike Print Studio, Bristol
In conjunction with the exhibition Emma Stibbon: Volcano (2 - 30 September 2017) at Alan Cristea Gallery, London.