Two California printmakers with lifetime links to the Sierra Nevada are currently on view at Mills College. The landscape prints of Roi Partridge (1888-1984) and Richard Wagener (1944-) are sculptural, full of movement, majestic—yet intimate in size. They have both built their imagery though an accumulation of lines. Partridge has etched his deeply into copper. They appear as rich threads of black ink, fuzzy on the paper and raised. The trunks of his trees twist and curl like spirit woods from Arthur Rackham’s golden age Grimm’s fairy tales. Wagener, on the other hand, is composing with a negative line—a precise, white removal of hard wood from an engraved block. His images are solid and iconic. They also show movement, but it seems frozen and rigid as if there is not a breath of wind and the twists of trunks and thrusts of mountains are sculpted from the turbulence of an earlier time. The work of both men makes one want to make a solitary pilgrimage in appreciation of California’s natural wonders.
What: Copper and Wood: Roi Partridge and Richard Wagener, 100 Years of Printmaking
Where: Mills College, Olin Library
When: January 25 – March 13, 2015
Ambiance: tiny, black and white library windows into California’s greatest spaces