MAILED: Feb. 22, 2001
Wood engravings created by artists from countries around the world will be on display in an exhibit titled The Art of Wood Engraving: Prints from the Engravers Network at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foster Gallery in the Haas Fine Arts Center March 1-April 3.
Dating back to the late 1700s, the art of wood engraving evolved out of the need for illustrating materials such as newspapers, magazines, catalogues and childrens books. Now in the 21st century, it is a form of art and expression on the upswing, gaining popularity as it goes.
Wood engraving is considered a minority art, meaning a lot of people are not involved in it compared to the other arts, but it is on the rise, said Sandra Starck, assistant professor of art and curator of the show.
The exhibit will expose people to the joy, beauty and originality of wood engraving, Starck said. What was once a necessity has now become a means of expression for many people.
Starck said the art of wood engraving is difficult and time consuming.
The artists must be concise, deliberate and detailed to create the image they see inside their heads, Starck said. The wood used in todays wood engravings is maple wood which is very hard to cut into. This is the part that can become time consuming.
Most wood engravings are between one and six inches squared, mostly because of the difficulty of working with wood and the cost of buying wood of such fine grain. However, history also plays a role in the size of these prints.
Because wood engraving had been used as a means of illustrating publications, the size has always been small. Most artists have chosen to follow that tradition, Starck said.
All of the artists featured in this exhibit are members of the Wood Engravers Network, an organization founded in 1994 that has a membership of more than 200 worldwide. Some of the best-known wood engravers belong to this organization and many of their works will be featured.
Simon Brett, a premier wood engraver from England, has several of his prints on display, while Wisconsins own Raymond Gloeckler will display some of his work.
Foster Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays, 6-8 p.m. Thursdays and 1-4:30 p.m. weekends. For more information about gallery exhibits, call Tom Wagener at (715) 836-2328.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Feb. 22, 2001