Pace Prints is pleased to present the exhibition Helen Frankenthaler: Woodcuts, 1998—2009 at 32 East 57th Street. Encompassing the artist’s last 20 years of production, the exhibition highlights two works from the Tales of Genji Series, as well as five prints published by Pace Editions. These works, using the traditional Japanese ukiyo-e woodcut style, are emblematic of the artist’s commitment to the technique.
Helen Frankenthaler is one of the most important contemporary American artists who worked in woodcut, the oldest known print medium. Beginning in 1973, Frankenthaler embraced the woodcut medium to great effect, working with master printers in the Japanese tradition in both Japan and the U.S. In collaboration with Master Printer Yasu Shibata at both Tyler Graphics and Pace Editions, Frankenthaler was able to make abstract woodcuts with the same freedom with which she painted. From this partnership, twelve prints were produced over fourteen years.
The Ukiyo-e woodcuts created by Helen Frankenthaler and Yasu Shibata at Pace Editions between 2003 and 2009, Snow Pines, Geisha, Japanese Maple and Weeping Crabapple are some of her most painterly, sensuous and vibrant prints. In the fifth and most complex work, the triptych Book of Clouds (2007), Shibata worked along side Master Printer Bill Hall to combine ukiyo-e style woodcut with aquatint and pochoir. Also on view are the prints Tales of Genji II and Tales of Genji III from a series of six large scale woodcuts; the earliest works from the collaboration between the artist and printer.
Frankenthaler’s woodcuts have been honored with dedicated exhibitions, at the Naples Museum of Art in Naples, FL, The Clark Museum in Williamstown, MA, the Art Institute in Chicago, IL, The Kode Art Museums and Composer Homes, Bergen, Norway and a forthcoming exhibition at the Princeton Art Museum in Princeton, NJ.