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The Carved Line: Block Printmaking in New Mexico

An ancient artistic medium with a modern aesthetic, block printmaking in New Mexico has been impacted by the beauty and tensions of New Mexico’s unique cultural landscapes and sacred spaces.

T. C. Cannon, Grandmother Gestating Father and the Washita River Runs Ribbon-Like, 1975 Color woodcut on paper, 16 ½ x 12 in. Collection of Roswell Museum and Art Center

T. C. Cannon
"Grandmother Gestating Father and the Washita River Runs Ribbon-Like," 1975
Color woodcut on paper, 16 ½ x 12 in.
Collection of Roswell Museum and Art Center

© 2016 Estate of T.C. Cannon, Reprinted courtesy of the Estate of T.C. Cannon

Jan. 14 - April 16, 2017

An ancient artistic medium with a modern aesthetic, block printmaking in New Mexico has been impacted by the beauty and tensions of New Mexico's unique cultural landscapes and sacred spaces.

"The Carved Line" is about printmaking and printmakers in New Mexico over more than a century of innovation. It features block prints, including new works, by New Mexico's best-known printmakers and brings to the forefront little-known artists deserving wide recognition and a place in New Mexico's art historical canon.

A block of wood or linoleum, a gouging tool, ink, and paper are all that is necessary to produce a block print. Yet, the versatile qualities of the medium have captured the imagination of artists throughout the twentieth century and today. Art historian Josie Lopez draws on exhaustive research around the state, and takes a thematic approach toward block printmaking in New Mexico. Lopez considers the importance of place, movement, and culture. Of particular note is the influence of artists from across the United States and abroad that brought to New Mexico new artistic approaches to printmaking, introducing new ideas about art and artistic movements. Undeniably, the beauty and tensions of New Mexico's unique cultural landscapes and sacred spaces also have had a profound impact on the artists, both local and newcomers to the state, and their works.

"The hand of the carver, expressing the voice of the artist, is inherent in each image," says Albuquerque Museum's Curator of Art Andrew Connors, "revealing the choices made with each cut of the knife or gouge of the chisel."

This exhibition includes prints by internationally known New Mexico artists including Gustave Baumann, Willard Clark, Howard Cook, Betty Hahn, T.C. Cannon, Fritz Scholder, Frederick O'Hara, Melanie Yazzie, Adja Yunkers and previously unpublished works by other artists such as Tesuque Pueblo artist Juan Pino, Margaret Herrera Chávez, Tina Fuentes, Yoshiko Shimano, Ruth Connely, Leon Loughridge, and Scott Parker.

The extraordinary range of block prints in "The Carved Line" demonstrates the medium's continuing appeal, broad sociopolitical and cultural influences, and wide variety of subjects and forms found in New Mexico.

A beautiful 248-page book, "The Carved Line: Block Printmaking in New Mexico" by curator Josie Lopez, published by the Museum of New Mexico Press will accompany the exhibit.

Subheader Image Details

Elaine de Kooning, 1920 - 1989
"Juarez" (detail), 1959, oil on canvas
Collection of Albuquerque Museum