Monument: Coding a Woodcut at SNAP Gallery, Edmonton, Jun 22-Jul 29

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Monument: Coding a Woodcut

Beth Howe & Clive McCarthy

Opening Reception: Friday June 23, 2017. 7PM – 9PM

Exhibition Dates : June 22, 2017 – July 29, 2017

This project is a collaboration between printmaker Beth Howe and digital media artist and programmer, Clive McCarthy. We developed custom software to cut large-scale photographic woodcuts of monumental infrastructure and landscape features using a CNC milling machine. The woodcuts are then printed by hand on an etching press.

The large relief prints of Monument: Coding a Woodcut pull together the ubiquitous contemporary tools of algorithms and machine tooling with the histories of woodcut printing. These methods of making are nodes in the same trajectory, following the human impulse to make and multiply images and text, to pass information and ideas to a larger potential audience at ever increasing speed. In combining these anachronistic tools of mass production, a distinct array of aesthetic effects arises. In the process of making prints for Monument, we have watched the failures and constraints of translation (from photograph to custom code to machine cutting to hand printing) generate new visual possibilities: moirés, fouled plates, strange artifacts, unexpected mark-making, and a beautiful wobbly line that was not in the code but perhaps was a ghost in the machine. All these effects reinforce the power of materiality inherent in each way an image is made – whether by carving knife or in units of code.

Beth Howe’s practice investigates the built environment and how architecture affects and reflects the way we perceive and understand landscape. Her work involves printmaking, drawing, artist’s books and multiples and she currently serves as Associate Professor in Print Media at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, BC. Clive McCarthy was born in Upton Park, London and following his graduation from University of Salford, he worked in the semiconductor industry. His engineering work ranged from working in a wafer fab clean room to managing a chip and software development organization with 200 employees. His artwork invariably uses computers and he is based in San Francisco, CA. Beth and Clive have collaborated on combining code and relief printing since 2010.

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