When the work of Leon Loughridge first arrived at the Ann Korologos Gallery, we were immediately moved by the beauty of his subject matter, his mastery of composition and his delicate use of color. Loughridge’s reduction wood block prints render landscapes in an evocative and romantic style that causes us to look at our environment with fresh eyes.
It sometimes happens that later, during the photographing of art, that we are given an opportunity to closely study the heaven in the details and the magic of the process. So it was with Loughridge’s prints. The attention required to match the photographs to originals revealed the glorious effect of his painstaking process. We arrived at respect and wonder at the reduction wood block method and the artist who can conceive and produce such remarkable works from a complex medium.
Beginning with an initial watercolor sketch produced on-site, Loughridge traces the image to a wood block in his studio. Any areas which are to remain uncolored are carved away, leaving the area that will be inked and printed raised. This is the simplified and familiar version of most wood block printing.
In Loughridge’s reduction woodblock prints, this is only the beginning of the process. The initially carved block is inked with the lightest color and printed on sheets of paper that will make up the print run. Then, Loughridge systematically carves away more material from the block and prints the next darker color. This process continues for 15 to 20 different of different colors, with Loughridge carving away more of the block each time. By the end of the process, the wood block is destroyed or “reduced,” during the creation of the image. Consequently, a reduction wood block print can never be reprinted. The number of prints is determined by how many impressions there are at the end of the process.
Leon Loughridge is a master of both the extensive pre-planning and the perception of separate colors in a scene required by the process. The resulting prints are dazzling and ethereal, somehow infused with the precision and magic of their unique medium.
To view a video of Loughridge at work, click here.