JOEL SHAPIRO "SNAKE" PRINT, 1990
Joel Shapiro (b. 1941) is an American sculptor living in New York City.
Blurring the distinction between figuration and geometric abstraction in sculpture, his work is frequently comprised of rectangular blocks that suggest figures in motion. One could consider him a second-generation minimalist, despite the depictions of the perceived human or living forms.
This woodcut of prickly layered triangles leans towards total abstraction. If the title was not present, would the viewer associate this group of shapes to a partially-coiled snake? Shapiro's version of this creature is realized in a sharp hard-geometry. Similar to Shaprio's sculpture, an assortment of dynamic lines both present as abstract yet simultaneously as a form in motion. This print is a fine example of Shapiro's approach to printmaking and working in two-dimensions.
"Snake" was created for the celebrated artist book "A Bestiary" by Bradford Morrow, who collaborated with 18 contemporary American artists to create artworks depicting the animals in his manuscript.
Since the ancient world, bestiaries have been used to catalog and describe collective knowledge on wonders, particularly animals, from the natural world.
Participating artists included James Nares, Erich Fischl, Kiki Smith and Vija Celmins, to mention a few. Working at Grenfell Press, the artists used traditional printmaking, including wood cuts, linoleum cuts, engravings and pochoir. The resulting artworks from this collaboration are as diverse in their style and beauty as the animals themselves. Click here to see Joel Shapiro's other contribution to A Bestiary. Which do you prefer?
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Woodcut relief print in black and ochre on Somerset paper
Signed and numbered by the artist on the colophon page
From an edition of 100
14.8"H 10.7"W (sheet)
Very good condition
Publisher: The Grenfell Press, New York
"Hummingbird" in the book Bestiary by Bradford Morrow (New York: Grenfell Press, 1990)
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