Robert Mangold: A Survey of Woodblock Prints 1985-2014

Senior & Shopmaker Gallery at the IFPDA Print Fair, Booth 206
November 6 - 9, 2014

Senior & Shopmaker Gallery is pleased to present a 30-year survey of selected woodcuts by Robert Mangold at the IFPDA Print Fair in New York, November 5-9, 2014. The show will include both the artist’s first woodcut print from 1985 as well as two new 2014 color woodcuts to be released this fall by the artist’s long time publisher and printer, Simmelink/Sukimoto Editions. This is the gallery’s fifth exhibition with the artist since 2000.

Associated with the Minimalist art movement of the 1960s, Mangold developed a reductive vocabulary based on geometric forms, monochromatic color, and an emphasis on the flatness of the painted picture plane. Within this seemingly austere repertoire, his work has evolved over time to a heightened complexity and lyricism through the use of innovatively shaped asymmetric and multiple-panel canvases, curvilinear lines that connect and unify geometric shapes, and ineffable and surprising color combinations. Printmaking, which Mangold began professionally in 1968, was a natural fit for an artist drawn to working in series and experimenting with variations on a theme. Prints became, in fact, an area where Mangold often first developed visual ideas that later appeared in his paintings, and he has to date completed over two hundred print editions with publishers such as Crown Point Press, Pace Prints, Brooke Alexander Editions, and Simmelink/Sukimoto Editions.

Mangold created his first etchings at Crown Point Press in Oakland, California in 1972, and in 1984, Kathan Brown of Crown Point again invited him to make his first woodcut print through a program she established with Japanese master printer Tadashi Toda and block carver Shunzo Matsuda. Printed in Kyoto, Japan using traditional Ukiyo-e printmaking techniques, Five Color Frame, 1985 echoes the flat texture and brilliant primary colors of Mangold’s paintings of the time. Drawn to the textured surfaces afforded by this medium, he returned to woodcut in 1989 to produce a set of four Untitled images published by Brooke Alexander Editions—this time carving the blocks himself. Woodcuts of the following decade, including Curved Plane/Figure II and III, 1994, published by Pace Prints, are printed on a variety of delicate handmade Japanese papers that enhance the striations of grained woodblocks.  

Unlike etching and screenprint whose chemical properties require the assistance of a master printer, the basic process of woodcut and its close relative, linocut, are sufficiently hands-on that they can be practiced in the privacy of the artist’s studio. Mangold, whose grandfather was a woodworker and who himself relished carving wood toys for his sons, produced the 1994 series Untitled A-D from blocks of wood gathered from random boards found on his property in upstate New York. Hand-printed by the artist on Japanese mulberry paper, these prints have the immediacy and directness found in the early woodcuts of Josef Albers, who taught at Yale while Mangold was a student there, and the relief prints of Naum Gabo, whom the artist admires and collects.

Woodcuts of recent years have been produced with Chris Sukimoto of Simmelink/Sukimoto Editions and show a refinement of surface yielded by delicately grained hardwood blocks inked with transparent color. In prints like Split Ring A, B, C from 2009, as well as his most recent woodcuts where a geometric image encloses a white void at its center, the stark white of the paper acts like the wall or negative space inside one of Mangold’s shaped canvases.

The Print Fair, the world’s leading art fair for prints from old master to contemporary will take place at the Park Avenue Armory, 67th Street and Park Avenue, from November 5-9, 2014.  Exhibiting dealers are all members of the International Fine Print Dealers Association, an organization dedicated to the highest standards of quality and connoisseurship.

For further information, contact Betsy Senior or Laurence Shopmaker at 212-213-6767 or gallery@seniorandshopmaker.com.