DETAIL: Helen FRANKENTHALER Freefall 1993 colour woodcut Purchased with the assistance of the Orde Poynton Fund 2002

VIEW BY GALLERY : Helen Frankenthaler | Collaboration | Freefall | Essence mulberry | Tales of Genji | Madame Butterfly |

There are no rules, that is what I say about every medium, every picture ... that is how art is born, that is how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules, that is what invention is about.
Helen Frankenthaler

In 1977 Frankenthaler began collaboration with the master printer Kenneth Tyler. As a gestural painter Frankenthaler’s decision to work in the difficult medium of woodcut would take her out of her creative comfort zone.

From Essence mulberry, Frankenthaler’s first woodcut with Tyler, to her most recent woodcut, Madame Butterfly, she has pushed both her creative limits and the technical limits of print collaboration. This experimental approach drove her to work through endless proofs for Essence mulberry; use paper pulp as a support in Freefall; use hand-dyed paper in Radius and seek to combine the woodcut with other print techniques in Ariel and All about blue.

If Frankenthaler’s earlier prints are seen as a period of development for her woodcut methods, the adventurous Tales of Genji and Madame Butterfly, can be seen as the fruition of 30 years of experimentation with the medium. In these later projects, Frankenthaler has succeeded in introducing a painterly quality that transforms the look of the traditional woodcut.

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