Open Press



Yang Hongwei Dream 2001 Wood Engraving

Yang Hongwei
Wood Engraving

For a wood engraving the artist carves into a piece of wood the image or matrix of the image. Then ink is applied to the image on the wood and lightly pressed onto a surface which is known as relief printing. Relief printing tends to last longer than intaglio method printing and has a distinct white on black contrast.

Dream did not have exactly fifty fifty contrast but the lines are bold, strong. There is a variety of smooth, curved lines as well as lines that cut across the image. In particular, at the top of the image cut down vertically, interrupting the image as a whole, along with white coming into the image from the frame. The image is nearly split in two. This causes the eye to pause as it goes along the curved lines and interrupts what the eye sees as a whole. There are many line qualities, hinting at confusion with so much going on. The circular framing of this piece is circular, with an open composition. It makes the eye wonder what may lie beyond.


Fan Min
Statue #24

In etching, a strong acid or mordant is used on unprotected areas of metal to cut. Protected areas are covered by a waxy ground resistant to acid. The desired areas are etched out using a needle or an échoppe, a tool with a slanted oval section, to ‘swell’ lines. Then the plate is dipped into acid where the acid ‘eats’ the unprotected areas.

The flowing lines in Statue #24 draw the eye up the image as they twirl around each other. Objects, like a hand or person, are slightly hidden within the twisting lines, catching the eye as it moves upwards. The frame of the image is basic but with rounded edges, perhaps giving a softer edge to the dark background; the image as whole does not have many points or straight lines so the round edges mimic the image’s elements. The bright area of the image sits in the center of the image acting as the focal point. The composition is open, the eye starts from the bottom going into the image instead of being smacked right in the middle.


Su Xingping
Cheers #6

For woodcut print making, an image is carved in a block of wood. What is to be printed is level with each other while other ares are carved away that are not mean to be printed. The ink is applied to the printing areas of the wood with an ink roller. Multiple colours can be used in wood printing if a different wood block is used for each color.

Cheers has strong, obvious lines. The horizontal lines are shorter, giving a feeling of being hurried and rash while the diagonal lines are longer. The eye shifts more quickly through the shorter lines and pause a little longer at the diagonal.  The title of the image is at contrast with the hurried, rush feeling the lines offer the image. The contrast of the image is intense; there is a balance between the darkest and lightest shade, nearly split into thirds by the mid tone, dark and light. The framing of the image has sharp edges, carrying on the intensity of the image. The larger figure of the image is place in the center but is not necessarily the focal point. The shorter image cast in darkness draws the eye more.

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