The time and patience it takes to finish a piece of Xilographic art is tedious to many and often overshadowed by other forms of art such as paintings and sculptures. Xylography is a form of relief printing, in which an image is carved into the surface of a block of wood with its main source of influence deriving from Mexican and Latin American cultures.
On Thursday, Oct. 17, the Fullerton College Art Department along with the Muckenthaler Cultural Center held a gallery opening reception exhibiting Xilographic art gathered from professional contemporary and historic Latino artists. The opening reception included music by mariachis and had food catered by Matador Cantina, a local Mexican restaurant located in Fullerton.
“We wanted to show off the medium and expose the great hand-made art to students. This is a great opportunity for students to see and speak with professional artists,” said Carol Henke, Gallery Director.
The process in creating this unique art starts with a pencil, hammer, chisel and a block of wood. First the picture is sketched out on the block of wood with the pencil, the picture is then hand carved into the wood with a hammer and chiseled. Once the picture is finished being carved, ink is spread throughout the wood. The ink seeps into the carvings and depending on how deep you dig into the wood controls how much ink seeps through.
After the ink is smeared on the wood, a paper is laid on top of the wood in a gingerly manner to where the ink transfers to the paper and the image you carved on the wood appears on the paper. This can be a tedious project that requires a lot of patience and self control.
“It requires a strong work ethic and long uninterrupted stretches of time,” said Abel Alejandre, one of the few artists whose work is displayed in the gallery.
Artists whose art work was displayed at the gallery attended the opening reception and were more than happy to explain the process and meanings behind each work of art. Many students attended the opening. Many of these students were art majors and were given the chance to learn more about art and get inspired by professionals.
“This gives students an idea of what you can do with wood and how this medium of art has evolved,” said Marianne Sadowski, an artist from Mexico City.
It can take up to months to finish a piece, which means months of dedication, no income and hoping that the end result will be what the artist intended and something that other people will find interesting.
Abel Alejandre describing the art as, “Each piece is like an oversized blanket that is by turns, comforting, but almost suffocating. But for those willing to dig deeper, my art serves as an optimistic road map that depicts the intimate and honest struggle against hatred and betrayal- a struggle that ultimately leads to salvation and redemption.”
The “La Xilografía” art gallery will remain open to the public on Mondays through Thursdays in the 1000 building, Room 1004.
There are so many different forms of art, many of which are not exposed or displayed as much as others. Xilography really digs deep into the thoughts and emotions of the artist, who transfer their organic thoughts and beliefs onto a block of wood, and jaw-dropping art is the result.
Take advantage of what the art gallery has to offer as art can play such a vital role in our lives, just as Shakespeare once stated, “For where thou art, there is the world itself.”