Dirk Hagner: Deep Cuts
A review by Bevis Hari
The exhibition runs until 5/28/2013
Dirk Hagner: Deep Cuts, found inside Biola University’s library, features breath-taking prints done by artist Dirk Hagner. Walking inside the library for the first time, one is greeted with large-scale woodcuts mounted on the walls. Beautiful prints over twenty by forty inches in size are framed, while the original wood block used in the process hangs next to them.
The artist’s main subject is portraying prominent people known throughout the course of history. Although most of his prints depict simply faces, Hagner successfully gives a dramatic look and pose to each. For instance, Hagner’s Tilman Riemenschneider (2002) shows the prolific German woodcarver curiously looking off into the distance. It is apparent that this was done using the suicide cut method. One side of the composition is dominated by shadow, and the background is composed by a vertical textured pattern that mimics the look of etched marks. In fact, what I find to be my favorite feature amongst the prints by Hagner is the obvious display of "chatter" marks. Its as if he intended not to be too careful about his mark making, however still keeping every details with the different width of the various gouges. One can also recognize that Hagner paid attention to light, as each of his prints assumes one light source that directs the lighting and shading. All these elements combine to create successful and dramatic composition within each print.
I have seen a few woodcut prints that are magnificent, but not as iconic as Dirk Hagner’s. The consistency in style and subject matter amongst his prints makes him a successful printmaking artist. There is no doubt that Biola University chose the right artist to represent art in printmaking.