BRETT COLLEY - Artist/Curator/Educator
Dark Cloud, gallery view
2011
Multi-block relief prints in found or thrift shop frames
Tucson, Arizona - 1995
One sunny March afternoon, seated at my kitchen table, I began carving the crude likeness of a Gila monster into a block of soft linoleum. I was determined to continue printmaking but no longer privileged to the well-equipped facility I’d enjoyed as a student in Iowa. I knew that once ink was applied, I could print this image by simply pressing it onto paper with a wooden spoon. Since that initial experience I’ve produced thousands of relief prints, and my studio practice has evolved in accordance to the constraint of working without a proper press.

Grand Rapids, Michigan - 2011
My current process involves hundreds of relatively small, carved wood and linoleum blocks, all printed by hand. By employing stencils, masking shapes (cut from newsprint) and an unconventional registration system I produce complex, composite images like those comprising this work.

The prints that form Dark Cloud were devised as individual vignettes in order to suggest our tendency to view their contents - the clear-cutting of rainforests, our dependency on fossil fuels, the exploitation of other animals in industrialized human agriculture - as isolated concerns. But despite the separation of one cell from another by thin wooden frames, their physical proximity is intended to encourage formal and conceptual analogies; these issues are, after all, interconnected.