SELMA SWARTZ BROMBERG
65 Sprague St.
Full Tilt Print Studio #5
Printmaking: Polymerplate Etching, Monotype, and Woodcut
My work is inspired by the rugged beauty and fragility of nature. I am attracted to the dramatic play of light and shadow on rocky cliffs, the swirling patterns of rushing waterfalls and the translucent colors in partially frozen ice along the river’s edge. I frequently ski and hike with my sketchbook in tow so that I can draw a particular view. Back in my studio, I am often influenced by the sensitivity and directness of Japanese and Chinese sumi paintings as I create new pieces from my nature studies.
I cut bold lines and rugged forms into my woodblocks. I print my woodcuts in one color to convey either stark stillness or intense movement in the landscape. My prints are monochromatic because I do not want the distraction of color to diffuse the forms. Conversely, my monotypes feature layers of translucent color, elusive light on surfaces, and undulating lines. Both woodblock and monotype reveal my strong interest in the variety of changing textures and patterns in nature. I am constantly trying new techniques, inks, and tools to discover more ways of expressing myself through printmaking.
My early work depicts animals such as monkeys, giraffes, and zebras that I would sketch at the zoo. At the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Sweet Briar, Virginia, I discovered a landscape choked with the kudzu vine which seemed to take on shapes like dinosaurs or birds at different times of day. The woodcuts that I made of kudzu marked a transition from depicting animals to creating landscapes. In Vermont, I sought out mountain vistas and rushing waterfalls.
Recently, I was an artist-in-residence at Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland. During my time in Canada, I observed stirring views of rugged fjords with cliff faces that plunge to the ocean, revealing the geologic forces that shaped them. I have been working on monotypes that depict the silvery bay, the deep green hills and the orange cliffs. In my woodcuts, I am interpreting the expansive, barren, pristine landscape of Newfoundland.
I have also traveled to the American Southwest and visited several national parks. The canyons and gorges of the desert provided the inspiration for a new body of work. On site, I made drawings and paintings of the strange rocks, which glow in shades of brilliant pinks, oranges and deep purple. In my studio, I work on monotypes and woodcuts which I develop from these studies. I continue to make work that interprets the natural world, whether it is a detailed flower or an expansive landscape.