Mr. Gill, who is based in New Hartford, Conn., starts with pieces of dead or damaged wood salvaged from his area. He cuts through the wood until he finds an engaging section—perhaps where the tree divides or branches intersect.
Then he sands the block as smooth as possible (so that the paper won't crease when placed on the wood) and burns and brushes the block (to reduce the areas of soft wood between the growth rings, making them more distinct)...
“Woodcut,” published by Princeton Architectural Press (www.papress.com), features Mr. Gill’s large-scale relief prints made from cross-sections of trees. Woodcut includes 100 color illustrations, an introduction by writer Verlyn Klinkenborg, and an interview with the artist detailing his printmaking process.
Mr. Gill creates abstract sculptures, works on paper, and installations that are inextricably bound to the materials and inspiration he finds in nature, working and living in a rural New England setting. Massive sections of tree trunks are cut and carved; branches and leaves are re-interpreted in bronze; and the growth rings on cross-sections of trees are inked and transferred to hand-made paper.
The central tension in Bryan Nash Gill's work is generated from its relation to landscape, so often the province of painting. Gill's is a sculptor's take, however, literally and metaphorically. His work is clearly composed of nature-tree branches and bark, woodsy flora like fungi and cabbages, leaves and seed pods, as well as deer hides and even desiccated orange peels. Still, what is striking about a gathering of these forms in a gallery, translated as they are by sub-tractive carving, reconstruction, and recasting, is the way they insist on an aesthetic of first-hand experience.Read More
"Wheels in the fields" was the phrase that popped up in one of Bryan Nash Gill's graduate school critiques at the California College of Arts and Crafts. It was an image of old farm implements rusting amid the rising growth of a farmer's field that this Connecticut farm boy had carried in some forgotten back pocket as he peregrinated from New England to New Orleans (to study glass blowing), to Italy (to study stone carving), to California (where he sought to discover the difference between art and craft), and to various primitive cold-water studio/ aeries in Colorado deserts, California mountainsides, lower Manhattan, and the northern extremities of Maine (where he later set up shop).Read More
It’s a strangely moving experience to flip through “Woodcut” (Princeton Architectural Press, $30), a book of Bryan Nash Gill’s relief prints of tree-trunk cross sections, which the artist harvests from felled trees, cedar telephone poles and discarded fence posts in his native Connecticut.