Life Through Linoleum

Life Through Linoleum

Life Through Linoleum

Zachary Woodward


Thesis Statements 

Today in an age of comfort and technology, we as a collective humanity have come to a point in time where we are so easily and instantly entertained. We Have been absolved of the turmoil and have neglected to recognize the hard work and issues from those before us, who have had to persevere. It seems at times that we forget what it means to be the most advanced species on earth, to be human. That is not to say that we today do not struggle and face obstacles of our own, but rather: what are the factors that we as people endure today, and how will they define and form the people and society we will become? How do we affect one another in becoming those people? It is my goal to answer these questions through the display of a collection of work that seeks to express and encapsulate the human condition, that has in many ways evolved into a unique experience tailored to this age of humankind. Yet it has remained constant and consistent to all people over time and in which we are perpetually unaware of, but still underlies the foundational structure of ongoing challenges and problems in society. Before you I present a body of work that shares both my own experiences and those of my peers that investigate and define the modern human condition.


Artist Statement 

My studio practice has long been rooted in the desire to create and the desire to evoke. It stems from my observations of the audiences of the masters of old whose work has transcended time and still to this day captivates their viewers. It has been my goal from a young age to produce work that leaves a lasting impression on my audience and to find my own satisfaction with my work as well. My aim above all is that the ideas, emotions, and messages that I myself experience when creating in the studio can be translated through the page.

Oftentimes my creative process begins with an idea or concept to explore. Once I have the general concept, I consider all of the elements that are connected to that idea and how I can narrow down exactly what it is I want to convey along with which medium suits it best. From there i’ll begin to sketch the elements together as they come to mind while seeking inspiration from the world around me, be it sitting on my front lawn observing the environment or browsing social media. I tend to stumble upon further elements seemingly at random. I primarily work with relief printmaking and once I've got the overall piece in focus, I begin the base illustration and experiment with texture and lighting. For most of my work, I always grant myself the courtesy of fluidity and experimentation, in that at any time, if I feel there is change to be made for the piece, I will allow myself to explore that change freely and openly. As I make changes, I mentally catalog and decide later if it will make it into the final iteration. My work is constantly growing and evolving  in the same way that we do throughout our lives.

My current project “Life Through Linoleum” explores the modern aspects of the human condition as experienced and observed by my friends, family, and peers, as well as myself through internal and external self-reflection. The topic of the human condition has widely been studied and explored before me, but like many things it is constantly evolving alongside us as we undergo new situational elements and issues  that change its definition; and therefore I took increased interest and distinct observation in encapsulating these experiences and providing a new and current perspective on the events that we each experience individually, but that affect us as a collective community. Examples of this can be seen throughout the work displayed in the exhibition such as imagery synonyms with recent events like that of “The Black Lives Matter movement”, The Covid-19 pandemic, Climate change and pollution, and inner self reflection. 

In many of the prints displayed in this exhibition I drew direct inspiration from the members of the Zurich Dadaist movement such as SopheTaeuber, Man Ray, Hannah Hoch, and Raoul Hausmann who created their work using the constructive media of “photomontage” collage. This movement was founded in Zurich, Sweden after many of the members of Dada fled Germany and Romania during WWI. Once settled in Zurich the Dadaists sought to use their art to express their disgust with the war and the interests that inspired it, as well as to fight against the social, political, and cultural ideas of that time.Photomontage was often done by organizing hand cut images from newspapers, magazines, and periodicals and arranging them into collages that gave an introspective look at the events taking place at the time. Many of the photomontage pieces contained a level of satire and surrealism that further emphasized the Dadaists narrative and helped the movement gain its popularity during the early 20th century.

This distinct technique has inspired my style as a printmaker. Much of my work is done through a means of “illustrative collage” in which the images in my prints are hand drawn and do not follow the traditional structures of landscape or realism, but rather that of expressionism and abstraction. With the daily influence of social media acting as one of our main life lines to current events, and perpetuating a lack of human interaction (due to the COVID-19 Pandemic) it feels as though our communities have grown increasingly divided and disperate. This divide perpetuates the tension and misunderstandings between each other and so with this exhibition , it is my intention to spark a conversation regarding social awareness, climate change, police brutality, and racial inequality, in the hopes of finding mutual understanding and unity.