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Woodcut Hardcover – May 2, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"A swell coffee table companion for hip young DIY-ers who cultivate a lumberjack look that says they've come straight from splitting firewood, the new book "Woodcut" is also likely to appeal to a much wider audience." -- Wall Street Journal

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. One is struck by how Gill's method - cutting blocks with a chain saw, sanding them down, burning them and sealing them with shellac - amplifies the events in the life of a tree: lightning strikes, burgeoning burls, insect holes and, of course, the aging process, evidence of which radiates out in transfixing patterns. Verlyn Klinkenborg , who also writes for The New York Times, describes these cross sections in the book's preface as "the death mask of a plant, the sustained rigor mortis" of maple, spruce and locust. They remind us, he says, that every biological form "possesses a unique footprint." --- T: The New York Times Style Magazine

"With this mesmerizing series, Bryan Nash Gill doesn't just bridge the gap between abstraction and representation, object and subject-- he closes them. WOODCUT confirms Gill's place as one of the most inventive, inspired artists working today" -- Tod Lippy, Esopus magazine

About the Author

Bryan Nash Gill was born and raised in the same rural, north-western corner of Connecticut were he works as an artist today. His sculptures and drawings are heavily influenced by the New England countryside but also by geographical regions as diverse as Carrara, Italy, New Orleans, and northern California where he has lived and worked.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press; 1st edition (May 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616890487
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616890483
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Karen Tiede VINE VOICE on July 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Here's the trick: Read the other reviews that point out how this book could have been better, and get the point that this is a small book of very large prints, and be disappointed that it is not an "art" book for the coffee table. Instead, it's a $20 introduction to a fabulous line of art work I would never have found, or been able to afford, elsewise. Then, it becomes fascinating and wonderful, and full of inspiration for finding more ideas in your own line of art than you could have imagined.

Orginals of the author's work are available for +- $4000.00. This is out of my range. Some of the art books I want on my coffee table, perhaps printed in America, are now OOP and available in the used book market for > $200. Your call on whether you would be able to buy Woodcut if it were printed in America at the ideal size for its content.

If you liked / already own One Tree, by Garry Olson & Peter Toaig, you'll love Woodcut. If you love Speck, by Peter Buchanan-Smith, you'll love Woodcut. If you own both of Bruce Hoadley's books about wood, Woodcut will add more to your understanding of this material.

The book is what it is, a collection, probably not complete, of one artist's fascination with the most basic form of woodcut. Who'da thought there was that much to see, to know? I don't care what grows in Connecticut, particularly. (Not all that different from central NC, except we use holly and juniper where they have yew.)

Usefully, to me, the interview / explanation at the end of the book provides a lot of detail about how the prints are made and how the artist works. Inventory management is, to me, the most interesting part of many (non-painting) artists' work; how do they keep and manage the material that becomes their artwork? Gill shares.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By E J Hilty jr on May 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I would encourage anyone interested in art and humane expression to read and view this book. Then live with it for an extended period of time. Any art book must give us small images of usually larger works of art. But if you want to see sixteen pages reproducing full sized excerpts from the originals that will show you clearly the difference between a careful and caring printing process and its transformative power compared to a simple photograph, Buy this book. These are printed in black and white on paper as are many of the originals. If you want to experience one exceptional source of the shear beauty of intricate designs and textures hidden in trees, Buy this book. If you want to grasp the special sense of time and change held in the hearts of trees, Buy this book. If you want to understand a different and difficult printing process, Buy this book. I suggest you run through the preview selections until you find one of the full sized excerpts. Five stars from this reader.
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28 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Zendicant Pangolin on May 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The purchase of this book by me is really a testament to good writing, as I pre-ordered this book after reading a glowing review of it in the NYT.
I don't ordinarily buy an art book without having first seen it; however, the review coupled with the publisher (Princeton) made this a compelling choice.

I was so excited about its arrival that I even blurted out to a bookseller I know that I had just purchased a fantastic new book title 'Woodcut' etc.; a brag that I reserve for my best finds/sales.

Upon opening the packaging, I was immediately disappointed by the small size of the book (at the time of pre-ordering I didn't see any size stated).
Folks!!! This book is only approximately 10" x 10" in size (and maybe 3/4" thick in approx. 120 pps.): A laughably small size when you consider that some of the prints the author made were more than 4 FEET per side.
As such, you can imagine how small the actual reproductions are. In fact, only a single, solitary print even spills onto a second page and it doesn't fill it. The editors even went so far as to cram as many as four reproductions on to a single page: Not excusable.

The printing and binding of this book were done in China. Once again, nobody who cares about producing an art book is going to send the job to China for, her production skills are just not up to snuff at this time.

Here's why the points I have just made about this book are critical. One of the things I had wished for in this book was that the artist had taken on the task of reproducing a wide variety of tree species that occur around his studio.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Bryan Nash Gill's book Woodcut deserves to be read; it is so much more than just another piece of coffee table candy. It is no wonder that Gill's humble beginnings amongst barns and farm tools led him to his first encounter with etchings in 1998. Using reclaimed wood from his own studio, he literally honed the results that make Woodcut so markedly unusual. The book is deeply grounded yet at the same time the reader's inner landscape is swept upward toward the ethereal.

What surprises me most about Woodcut is just how much artistry Gill has wrought from a basic cross-section of a tree. He is like a good reporter, reporting only what he sees, but he manages to embellish every woodblock with personal flair. Some of the relief prints are starkly elemental while others look like organic components of a still living being. None come across as synthetic or overdone. Even rotting segments of wood are fascinating and tell a story.

And when he combines elements to create "sculptures" and stacks, Gill proves himself to be someone whose life in art is well worth following.
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