This semester I have a few wonderful studio classes that I truly enjoy every moment of! My printmaking class with Peter Hoffer has been my favorite so far this semester. I only ever experienced printmaking in my seventh grade art class, which was years ago so I barely remember much. I do recall carving from a linoleum block which I then printed/stamped on a sheet of paper, which was nothing compared to what I have been doing in Peter Hoffer’s class. However, my post today will not be focusing in on what I have been working on in his class but will focus on a printmaker I recently learned about whose work blew me away! And, his name is Barry Moser.
Barry Moser is an American artist specifically known for his printmaking and numerous illustrations in literary works. His works have been displayed in several venues such as the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum, Harvard University, and the Library of Congress. Moser did reinterpretations of classical works such as the Pennyroyal Press editions of Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, Frankenstein, Huckleberry Finn, The Wizard of Oz, and the Pennyroyal Caxton Edition of The Holy Bible. Moser’s take on The Wizard of Oz was by far my favorite. Growing up I always enjoyed the movie, it was one of my favorites. Last semester I was even fortunate enough to see the Broadway production of Wicked, which is the untold story of the witches of Oz with some of my family members. So, when I came across Barry Moser’s collection featuring images from the Wizard of Oz, I got excited!
His Wizard of Oz collection is a series of wood engravings, which is a technique where artists carve an image directly into a piece of wood. Artists typically used cherry, lemonwood, or boxwood specifically because of its fine grains providing a perfect surface for fine detailed images. The images below provide a perfect example of this technique.
Both of Moser’s pieces here are simply stunning. They are both visually appealing to me and I cannot get enough of them. I love how they show qualities of the wood grains but also look as if they were drawn by hand. When I look at these I think to myself, “How, how is this possible? Is this even real?” They exceed perfection in my eyes. I am especially blown away by the goggles on the monkey’s head. They are spot on when it comes to their reality. The goggles have that “glassy” shiny quality with the rich black background with white stripes on top. However, I am curious to what the prints would look like if color was added. Would I feel the same as I do now looking at the works, would I even like them still?