Monday, March 6, 2017

M.C. Escher

First picture is a Self portrait done in lithographic crayon. The Dutch artist Maurits Cornelis Escher was was born in Leeuwarden, in the northern part of Holland, in 1898. Initially, he studied to be an architect, but he became increasingly interested in graphic art and eventually turned to being an artist. 

The second picture is a lithograph. We can see much from the reflection in the globe. The artist has drawn himself as well as the room in which he is sitting. 

Castrovalva another lithograph. His first works were very detailed realistic representations. Notice all the detail you can find in this work. As your eye travels over the landscape you will notice three villages and the roads connecting them. Look at the clouds that are coming over the mountainside. Can you tell which way the wind is blowing? 

The palm tree is a wood engraving-which is a print made from the carving on the end grain of a piece of wood. This particular piece is made from two blocks which make more color possible. Notice that while this work is done in black and white, there is also gray. 

Sky and Water I, woodcut. In 1935, when the artist was 37 years old he changed direction with his work. Up until then he had been mostly interested in improving his technique in representing realistic objects. Now, inspired by Moorish mosaics which he had seen in Spain when visiting the great Moorish mosques there, he began experimenting with techniques of tessellation and transformation. In a tessellation continuous and interlocking shapes cover the surface without overlapping or leaving gaps Transformation means that the shapes change from one image to another. Look at the top and bottom of this print. At the top there is a realistic bird, at the bottom an equally realistic fish. As your eye moves from the bird to the fish notice what happens to the space between the birds. It becomes the fish!

Continuing this theme, the artist explores the fish and birds again with this tessellation. This print is a woodcut which is different from a wood engraving in that it uses the front of a block, not the end. Sometimes you can notice the wood grain in a woodcut. 

Day and Night, woodcut from two blocks, Here we have a print which has incorporated both a landscape and a tessellation/transformation. At the bottom of the picture you can see two towns with a patchwork of a farmer's fields between them. The fields would be a tessellation, continuous and interlocking shapes covering the surface. As your eye moves upward you see the transformation, the fields become birds. Notice that there are both white and black birds. Which did you see first? Now notice that one of the towns is in darkness and the other is in light. The title of the print is Day and Night. Can you see how the black birds are flying through the daytime sky of one town, while the white birds are flying through the night sky of the other town? 

Puddle is a woodcut print. Here is another type of print that Escher experimented with. He called these next 3 images part of his experimentation with mirror images. Let's look carefully at this woodblock. We can be detectives as we find the tracks of two cars, two bicycles and two people walking. What time of day is it? Where is this mud puddle? 

Three Worlds is a lithograph. The artist called this print "Three Worlds" What levels can you see as you look into the pond? Do you see the fish swimming in the water? The leaves which float on top of the water? The trees reflected in the water?

First portrait is a lithograph. Here we have a drawing which represents many different points of view. Look at the top middle of the print. There are two people walking on a stairway. Notice that one of them is walking up the stairs and the other is walking down. That wouldn't be so strange, but they are walking in the same direction!

Second portrait is also a lithograph. By now your poor eyes must be thoroughly tricked! Here we see a lithograph of a structure with a waterfall. In fact, the artist has called it "Waterfall". Look at the background. It is a series of terraces. Notice how the terraces step down one after the other. Now look at the waterfall and follow the water with your eyes as it plunges over the fall and turns the water wheel. Then follow it as it flows downstream. It must be flowing downstream since water always flows downstream and besides look at the wall alongside the water. Don't the bricks step down every few bricks? The only problem is that if we continue to follow the water downstream we end up upstream ready to go over the waterfall again. What happened?!?

Drawing hands, lithograph. Here we have a piece of paper which is tacked to a surface. There is a hand which seems to be drawing a cuff of a sleeve. The cuff looks like a drawing. It sits flat on the paper. But out of that cuff comes a hand which seems to emerge right off the paper to grab a pen and draw another cuff connected to the first hand! What techniques have the artist used to make the hands look so three dimensional (rounded) while the cuffs look two dimensional (flat)? 

The rest of the pictures are examples of symmetry work. Look at each on and see the images that are in them. What do you think?