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November 8, 2006

Michael Vegell

Printmaking is traditionally focused on process, and that is part of the interest for me. Many of my images come from pop culture, but in the transfer process I abstract them. Then I transfer the imagery to the block by hand by means of a graphite transfer. Next I carve the block, which the most enjoyable part for me because of a Zen like repetition of cuts—each cut mirroring the next yet shifting to crate an angle that sculpts form. Then there are the numerous ways of printing the same block. The physical block is important to me also, wether it is wood and what type of wood or fresh soft linoleum. Differing types of wood can create a variety of textures, and the softness of the wood can create a refined detailed image as well as a choppy gestural image. The blending of and knowledge of these elements can create a vast catalogue of mark making that sculpt any form.

I am working on a series of five state reduction blocks with a montage/ collage sort of imagery. The interpretation of the content is left to the viewer but I did have a theme involved, which was the inter-connectiveness of human interaction. Different character’s eyes create vectors to lead the viewer around the piece and into the layering of the collage. The fact that it is a reduction block (carving back into the same block multiple times to maximize the usage) is also related to the finalization of the interactions that take place in the piece, paralleling the incidents that take place in any given day. Also the decisive carving of the block creates more directional forces that lead the viewer around the piece. The overwhelming nature of the piece engages the viewer to stand and view the complexity of the composition as a whole.

The obsession for details is something that I strive for in my own work, by making sure that every cut is very planed out, including the angle of the cut, where my hand will be stabilized in my cut, and the depth of the cut that needs to be made. I feel that in relief the carver of the block is sculpting the image through lines that we only associate as form, and viewing the actual block is sometimes more interesting than seeing the print that is achieved.

One main thing that I strive for in my work is the absence of the elitism of many pieces in Fine Art, that needs a course in art history to appreciate. I think that it is important to make art that can cross the boundary between fine art and an aesthetic that the average person can admire. Through questioning many people of varying backgrounds about criticism, an artist can create a stronger piece of work. Through using images from popular culture and advertising as source materials of my work I am trying to create a reconnection of the uneducated about art with the fine art world.