Zorawar Sidhu and Rob Swainston “Essential Services: 2020 Woodcuts”


poster for Zorawar Sidhu and Rob Swainston “Essential Services: 2020 Woodcuts”

This event has ended.

As largely peaceful protestors filled the streets of cities around the world in response to the racist murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, among others, many of Manhattan’s retail storefronts and institutions boarded up their windows with plywood. Much of this plywood became the surface for graffiti expressing solidarity with the protest movements. As institutions began to take these physical barriers down, Sidhu and Swainston rescued this conceptually charged material for multi-color woodcut prints. The images are carvings of the protests which incorporate the graffiti remnants left on the plywood. Woodcut is a medium of the people—a medium that gives expression to anti-authoritarian movements and facilitates the mass distribution of ideas. They return this plywood to the public to subvert the original intention of the wood to hide from the public and as artistic and political expression in solidarity with the protests

Zorawar Sidhu and Rob Swainston are a collaborative art duo exploring the intersection of historical print processes and digital fabrication technology. Their projects investigate the complexities of contemporary social issues, drawing from the history of print as the medium par excellence of social movements.
Visit each artist’s website: zorawarsidhu.com and robswainston.com

What is a woodcut print?

Woodcut is a printmaking technique where the image is printed from wood. The image is cut with chisels, gouges, knives, routers, and other tools. The raised areas are rolled up with ink, and the cut away areas of wood are left blank when the block is pressed into paper. A woodblock can be printed by hand or with a printing press. For this exhibition, these prints were printed on an etching press. Each color is its own layer and made from a different block. The prints in this exhibition were each printed from six to eight different layers. The wood used here is repurposed plywood that was collected from Manhattan institutions who boarded up their glass windows and doors during the summer of 2020. The plywood surface has been distressed by rain, wind, graffiti, and other environmental conditions. When printed, this history of the material is visible in the finished print.



from March 06, 2021 to April 11, 2021

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