Woodblock printing, which incorporates skills I have acquired over a lifetime of working with my hands-mainly finish carpentry, cabinet making and building architectural models-feels like the right medium for me. The art of carving woodblocks is straightforward and direct in that in what is left on the surface of the wood after carving becomes the image. The carving, however, offers its challenges depending on the degree of detail intended, and many hours can be spent arriving there.
The subject matter for my prints generally centers on objects in nature that I feel possess a special quality I want to bring to the viewer’s attention. In an attempt to have the prints reveal these qualities, I spend a lot of time in the arranging and rearranging of parts and forms in order to show their hidden interest and beauty. These grapevine prints have been very interesting and enjoyable to work on. The subjects, like little twisted critters, are playful. Some seem to almost dance with each other and with their shadows.
This series of prints also reflects influences from my past. I have spent a lot of time studying and living in Japan and have a strong interest in the esthetics and the art of that country. I feel that the grapevine images are somehow more connected to these influences than in my earlier work.I have always thought that my artwork should reflect what my life has gifted me with. I have seldom had such fun with my subjects as with these, and I am happy to share them with you
what ties us
is not the knots
nor the twists
but the earth
a tiny seed
~ Alan Lau