Friday, January 15, 2010

London Lino Cut

Mark Webber
Where in the World City Maps Linocut series
46.81'' x 33.11''

I chose Mark Webber's linocut print of London because of the new spin he put on a traditional style of printing. The dexterity and skill he shows in rendering type into an image (a map of London) is impressive. Each of the parts forms to create a cohesive whole. He faithfully renders line weight of the different font styles yet varies his choices to heighten contrast, keeping the design from becoming too boring. Flipping various sections also creates movement and helps guide your eye around the image. His use of color is interesting here, most times I've seen the print inked only in one color, and I am unclear why one section is in red. However, it remains effective to draw your eye to the center of the image.

In researching linocut block prints, the subject matter is usually fairly traditional: scenes from nature, urban landscapes, rough figures, yet this style and manner of printing is refreshing to see. It is also heartening to see an artist take on expressive typography in this way in this media, as it is very hard to pull off well, especially since each letter has to be carved backwards.


  1. Great choice, very well described. I wonder if you know when it was made: this is an interesting question, because an artist's choice of media reveals a lot. Particularly in the era of digital imagery, if an artist chooses to use a laborious analog technique, it demonstrates craft, the human touch with all its rich imperfections and sometimes unpredictable results.
    ON the other hand, if it's from the fifties or sixties, then it is more an expression of liberation, the loosening of text, alphabet and language from conventional order, the possibility of inventing a new way of seeing the world. I think the red in the center of the image indicates the glowing, red-hot heart of the city, as well as a display of technical expertise.

  2. I want to say it was made recently, as he is a fairly young artist at 23. So if not this year then within the past few years. The explosion of the emerging handmade as art has been a really fascinating (re)development in art and I'm very pleased to see the art world once again paying attention to good drafting and craftsmanship.