Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Permanent Collection Pick of the Week

Travel is a key part of my life that has always been important to me. I don’t think I would have the cultural perspective I have today had I not had the privilege of traveling through Europe, and other beautiful places. When time and money limits me from traveling I enjoy looking through the eyes of others, whether it is through a film, poem, novel or artwork.

Alan Stein is a painter and printmaker who studied at Humber College, and Three Schools of Art in Toronto and Burleighfield School in Great Britain. He also studied letterpress printing with Bill Poole. His work is collected internationally and has been exhibited at public galleries across Canada and the United States. A great number of his works have been influenced by his travel’s oversees.

The Grimsby Public Art Gallery’s permanent collection holds a series of ten woodcut prints that were inspired by the artist’s travels in Mexico. Stein published these illustrations in a book called “In Mexico” written by Al Purdy, where the author looks back over the many years he spent traveling in Mexico. For example, one of the illustrations in our collection is a wood engraving titled Oaxaca (In Mexico). This print is a colourful, abstract illustration of a church in Mexico consisting of bright blue, yellow, gold and red colours that vibrantly pop against the black and white background. In the top centre of the artwork is a crowned figure, dressed in a medieval looking robe, encased in a golden altar with a heart above the figure’s head that is perhaps a depiction of a Martyr or a Saint. 

I find these prints of Stein’s Mexico series to be interesting in both its content and aesthetics. I hope to learn more about these prints as each one appears loaded with symbolism.

Rebecca Madamba
Collections Management Assistant

 (click to enlarge)
Alan Stein
#3 Oaxaca (In Mexico), 1996
Wood engraving
Collection of the Grimsby Public Art Gallery, Gift of the artist

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