I love this piece by printmaker Rebecca Brame. It is called “The Conversation” and depicts the sun streaming down upon two roosters, looking quizzically at a hand. There are flowers emanating from a glowing, ochre sun – it feels warm and friendly. The hand looks as though it is going to scoop them up in a harmless embrace, but then you look at the thumb’s menacing beak and you wonder, “What is really going on? A thumb disguised as a chicken?” There is a conversation between the two birds (one rooster whispers in the ear of the other as he listens intently) and there is a conversation between the artist and the viewer. What was the artist’s intent?
“The Conversation” is an actual wood block and not a wood block print.
I have always loved the actual carved wood block as much as the print. Rarely, do you see a wood block hanging on a wall, exhibited as a work of art in itself. “The Conversation” looks like a well-used block, though it is not. After carving the block, Brame painted the block with saturated color, leaving some areas unpainted to highlight. Once the paint was dry, she rolled over it with the rich black ink she uses in her actual prints. The block looks like a 2-dimensional print. But come close – it is a 3-dimensional piece of sunken relief sculpture. The medium is as ambiguous as the subject matter. Another conversation begins! (To see “The Conversation” in progress and her fascinating technique, please visit Rebecca’s blog.
The dark lines and bold carving inherent to a wood block carry a heavy emotional weight. Brame was raised in Mexico City and influenced by the color and emotionality of Mexican artists David Alfaro Siqueiros, José Clemente Orozco, Rufino Tamayo and Frida Kahlo. I’ve included some of their work in the slide show below so you can see for yourself the connection to Rebecca’s work.
“The Conversation” is 20 x 20″ and is available for sale until January 30th at the Abington Art Center as part of MamaCita’s (w)holons exhibition, ($450.00) After that, it will be on view for one afternoon at an open house/art reception at 1615 Terwood Road in Huntington Valley, February 27th, from 1 -4. Everyone is welcome to attend this open house. The Terwood Road property is currently for sale and this would be a fun opportunity to see the (w)holons exhibition as well as a beautiful piece of architecture located on a lovely piece of property, right down the street from historic Fetter’s Mill.
I could definitely see “The Conversation” gracing a kitchen or dining room wall in one of the many historic homes that make up suburban Philadelphia. I covet this piece – if I had the money, I would buy it in a heartbeat.