David Blackwood: Master Print Maker

Overview

David Blackwood: Master Printmaker is a stunning retrospective of the major works of one of Canada's most talented artists. Born in Wesleyville, Newfoundland, Blackwood grew up in a family with a long seafaring tradition. His great-grandfather was a captain; his grandfather was in command of the S.S. Imogene; and his father was a skipper in the fisheries. A strong history of oral narratives and the values of an active outport fuse with Blackwood's talent to produce works of art ...

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Blackwood, David Buffalo 2001 hardcover First Fine in fine jacket With an Appreciation by Annie Proulx. 141 beautiful etchings plus some photographs. xiii + 178pp., large square ... 8vo, grey cloth, d. w Buffalo: Firefly Books, (2001). First printing. A fine copy in a fine dust wrapper. Read more Show Less

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Overview

David Blackwood: Master Printmaker is a stunning retrospective of the major works of one of Canada's most talented artists. Born in Wesleyville, Newfoundland, Blackwood grew up in a family with a long seafaring tradition. His great-grandfather was a captain; his grandfather was in command of the S.S. Imogene; and his father was a skipper in the fisheries. A strong history of oral narratives and the values of an active outport fuse with Blackwood's talent to produce works of art that speak in a unique voice.

David Blackwood: Master Printmaker brings together 135 of the artist's most evocative etchings, reproduced in outstanding color on high quality paper. The book's large format grants each work a 10 1/2" x 11" page for generous viewing, and each print is accompanied by concise commentary by novelist, poet and fellow Newfoundlander William Gough. The artist himself has also contributed explanatory text to accompany a series of working prints. A chronology covers the highlights of the artist's life and work, and novelist Annie Proulx (Shipping News) offers a moving appreciation of the artist in the foreword.

Newfoundland still considered itself a country when David Blackwood was born. People were united by their love for the sea and their total dependence upon it, and community ties ran deep and strong. Whether depicting the exhilaration of a ship's safe return from sea, the tragedy of lives lost to an angry ocean, or the quiet beauty of waiting at a window for a relative's return, Blackwood's prints are filled with story, drama and the deepest connections to a place and a people.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781552975367
  • Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 10/6/2001
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 10.80 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

David Blackwood has received many national and international awards for his work, including the Order of Canada. He is, with Farley Mowat, the author of The Wake of the Great Sealers, and is also the subject of the National Film Board's Blackwood, which received an Academy Award nomination. His work appears in numerous private and public collections, including the National Gallery of Canada, the National Gallery of Australia, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Uffizi in Florence, the Chase Manhattan Bank, and the collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Blackwood's visual archive, recently donated to the Art Gallery of Ontario, will form the basis of a major retrospective of his work in 2003. David Blackwood lives in Port Hope, Ontario, with his wife, Anita, and his son, David. He also maintains a studio in Wesleyville, Newfoundland.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Newfoundland as Atlantis by Annie Proulx
Introduction

The Place We Stand to Fly a Kite

One Small Island

A Veil of Shadows

Labrador

Caught in Ice

A Wonderful Great Mummer

Chronology

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Preface

Introduction

Standing in his studio in Port Hope, Ontario, David Blackwood is considering a small, hand-carved horse, something made in his native Newfoundland before he was born. As he turns the horse over and over in his hands, it's as if he can see with his fingers. "In New York, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, there is a little bronze horse that follows the same lines as this one", he says. He leans back, tilts his head to view the little carved horse from another angle. "See? See the connection? And the man back home in Wesleyville who made this didn't have any great classical ideas about sculpting. For him he was simply chasing a shape. He had a natural instinct about how the horse was to look — and that instinct is really prehistoric."

Somewhere in Blackwood's thoughts about the horse is a connection to the print he's working on at the moment, and he turns his attention to this work in progress. Silently he stands back from it, walks around, moves in closer to the print, sits, tilts his head, and looks carefully at one corner. Then he simply gazes.

In an age that seems unable to bear silence, at a time when big cities are installing fast-walk lanes on sidewalks, and configurations of pixels on Internet-linked monitors leap and shift in an eye-blink, David Blackwood knows how to sit still; he can do as the Tao-te Ching suggests, and watch the water settle. The expression on his face is one that, as a fellow Newfoundlander, I've seen many times before — on the faces of fishermen mending nets, women as they quilted, boys as they made stilts, uncles as they carved the first whistles of springtime, aunts as they knitted and told stories. It is a look of considered creation, where each thing that's done in the present trails the glory of an that's been created before.

David Blackwood and I have talked many times about the role this period of consideration plays in the development of his work. "It's not calculated or planned or thought out," he says. "I'll come in here and spend thirty minutes looking, not rationalizing but feeling the light and the feeling I want. It's a mystery how I do it, so I feel my way along and it happens." There's a pause. "Sometimes."

After he adds the "sometimes," he laughs, in a way that reminds me of his late father, Captain Edward Blackwood. It's the laugh of a skipper who understands that, no matter how clear a course may be, there's always the chance of an unexpected gale. The sudden lifting of a fog bank, the quick parting of thick curtains of mist, the surprise of a beam of light cutting into the ocean as the days get shorter: all of these belong to the world of "sometimes." David Blackwood's vision descends from generations of people who could glance towards the ocean and see an approaching storm where others might notice only a slight shifting of color. The hands that draw and sketch and coax magical lines from metal plates are simply putting to new use skills that his ancestors used to turn planks into the smooth lines of a ship's hull. And the spirit that drives his art is powered by older spirits that have, again and again, asked for answers to the questions "Why are we on earth, and what are we to do here?"

Blackwood continues to gaze at his work as the sun pours through the window. He is completely engrossed, and I remember a Newfoundland fisherman I once observed gazing in the same way at the ocean. I asked the man if he ever tired of the sea, ever grew weary of what he did. I wanted to know how each morning was for him.

The fisherman looked out over the rolling billows and thought a long time before giving his considered answer.

"The sea? Why, my son, 'tis as good as your breakfast."

Watching David Blackwood lost in his work, I understand at he approaches his art as if it were the ocean-endless, deep and infinitely variable. it is here that Blackwood has set his nets, and his nets come up filled with light and stories.

Read More Show Less

Introduction

Introduction

Standing in his studio in Port Hope, Ontario, David Blackwood is considering a small, hand-carved horse, something made in his native Newfoundland before he was born. As he turns the horse over and over in his hands, it's as if he can see with his fingers. "In New York, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, there is a little bronze horse that follows the same lines as this one", he says. He leans back, tilts his head to view the little carved horse from another angle. "See? See the connection? And the man back home in Wesleyville who made this didn't have any great classical ideas about sculpting. For him he was simply chasing a shape. He had a natural instinct about how the horse was to look -- and that instinct is really prehistoric."

Somewhere in Blackwood's thoughts about the horse is a connection to the print he's working on at the moment, and he turns his attention to this work in progress. Silently he stands back from it, walks around, moves in closer to the print, sits, tilts his head, and looks carefully at one corner. Then he simply gazes.

In an age that seems unable to bear silence, at a time when big cities are installing fast-walk lanes on sidewalks, and configurations of pixels on Internet-linked monitors leap and shift in an eye-blink, David Blackwood knows how to sit still; he can do as the Tao-te Ching suggests, and watch the water settle. The expression on his face is one that, as a fellow Newfoundlander, I've seen many times before -- on the faces of fishermen mending nets, women as they quilted, boys as they made stilts, uncles as they carved the first whistles of springtime, aunts as they knitted and told stories. It is a look of considered creation, where each thing that's done in the present trails the glory of an that's been created before.

David Blackwood and I have talked many times about the role this period of consideration plays in the development of his work. "It's not calculated or planned or thought out," he says. "I'll come in here and spend thirty minutes looking, not rationalizing but feeling the light and the feeling I want. It's a mystery how I do it, so I feel my way along and it happens." There's a pause. "Sometimes."

After he adds the "sometimes," he laughs, in a way that reminds me of his late father, Captain Edward Blackwood. It's the laugh of a skipper who understands that, no matter how clear a course may be, there's always the chance of an unexpected gale. The sudden lifting of a fog bank, the quick parting of thick curtains of mist, the surprise of a beam of light cutting into the ocean as the days get shorter: all of these belong to the world of "sometimes." David Blackwood's vision descends from generations of people who could glance towards the ocean and see an approaching storm where others might notice only a slight shifting of color. The hands that draw and sketch and coax magical lines from metal plates are simply putting to new use skills that his ancestors used to turn planks into the smooth lines of a ship's hull. And the spirit that drives his art is powered by older spirits that have, again and again, asked for answers to the questions "Why are we on earth, and what are we to do here?"

Blackwood continues to gaze at his work as the sun pours through the window. He is completely engrossed, and I remember a Newfoundland fisherman I once observed gazing in the same way at the ocean. I asked the man if he ever tired of the sea, ever grew weary of what he did. I wanted to know how each morning was for him.

The fisherman looked out over the rolling billows and thought a long time before giving his considered answer.

"The sea? Why, my son, 'tis as good as your breakfast."

Watching David Blackwood lost in his work, I understand at he approaches his art as if it were the ocean-endless, deep and infinitely variable. it is here that Blackwood has set his nets, and his nets come up filled with light and stories.

Read More Show Less

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