Artists are breathing new life into techniques and forms found in centuries-old media, and they are incorporating contemporary attitudes and approaches in their work. The Contemporary Connections series uses the strengths of our collection to make connections to contemporary art, whether relating to medium, themes and subject matter, or a different geographical location or culture. The Museum’s collection includes approximately 160 Japanese woodcut prints, and the first exhibition in our series will explore this medium. Curator of Collections and Exhibitions Kristen Miller Zohn worked with Curlee Raven Holton of the Experimental Printmaking Institute at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania to choose several of his works and the prints of other artists for the exhibition.
The works in Contemporary Connection run the gamut from lighthearted to serious and from luminous to dark. Veronica Ceci’s colorful prints are inspired by the people around her and their interaction with their modern surroundings. In his complex and layered images, Dexter Davis deals with his violent childhood, the deaths of family members and his struggles with poverty. David Driskell’s work highlights individual moments of spiritual reflection, often incorporating African art mask motifs as an acknowledgment of a cultural inheritance. LaToya M. Hobbs likens the act of cutting away the surface of the wood to the way women of African descent have had to cut away the negative stereotypes imposed on them by external forces to express their true identity. Curlee Raven Holton’s large prints use images such as medieval torture devices in the context of domestic bliss to provoke a deeper awareness of the potential pain of a banal existence. The water-based woodcuts of Florence Neal are glowing depictions of nature and the landscape. The prints of Steve Prince are rich in metaphors of art, music, and religion. Also featured in the exhibition is Laurel artist Sean Star Wars, who cuts his pop culture-infused images into wood boards and then prints them onto other boards to produce multimedia works that will stand the test of time.
Veronica Ceci, Two Standing, 2013, woodcut, courtesy
of the artist
Dexter Davis, Storm III, 2015, relief and mixed media
collage, courtesy of Dolan/Maxwell, Philadelphia, PA
David Driskell, Mask and Urban Man, 2009, woodcut, collection
of the David C. Driskell Center, University of Maryland
LaToya M. Hobbs, Clarice II, 2011, woodcut, courtesy of the
Curlee Raven Holton, Domestic Bliss, 2013, relief wood cut,
courtesy of the artist
Florence Neal, Dusk at Mt. Fuji, 2013, Mokuhanga on Washi paper, courtesy of the artist
Steve A. Prince, Clap To This, 2017, woodcut on paper, courtesy of the artist
Sean Star Wars, Sophisticate, 2016, multimedia, courtesy of the artist
Exhibition generously sponsored by