Matthew Trueman grew up in the suburbs of London's Masonville District. He went back and fourth between his love of making art and his family legacy in engineering through university until recently taking the plunge to jump the engineering ship and give being a full time artist a shot. His upcoming exhibition at Westland Gallery entitled "Dirt" will be up March 8th until the 26th, with a reception at 7:30 PM on the 11th and his artist talk will be at 1:00 PM on the 20th.
Trueman has let us take a peek behind the curtain and see how his creates his dynamic works. Trueman studied to become a painter so he never received any formal training in printmaking. This fact underwrites the constant adaptation and flux that is the hallmark of his practice. Trueman blends drawing and photography, architecture and landscape, invention, appropriation, realism and eastern and western approaches without hierarchy. The images originate from sketches and photographs, both his own and appropriated, which are then manipulated with a computer to suit the works needs. Paradoxically he could hit print on the computer and have an image in seconds that will take weeks to carve by hand. However, the carving and printing process establish an organic, handmade aesthetic and crisp resolution that a computer could never approach. Carving the wooden printing plates draws from an ancient Japanese tradition. Trueman use an assortment of gouges called Komasuki that function like spoons for wood.
Image 1 and Image 2 show two different sizes of gouges in use. There is no quick way or shortcut to carve –rather hundreds of hours of practice germinates a speed and technique that boarders on auto-pilot. Carving takes on a meditative process where the focus of your world is fixated for hours in an area the size of your palm. See Image 3 for a finished carving (the plate in the rest of the images is still in the carving process). The paper Trueman uses is handmade in Japan however the ink and printing technique take their cues from the west where oil based inks are rolled on the surface, see Image 4. This method yields more consistent results for large prints. For the actual transfer he bounces back to Japan and uses a traditional (albeit synthetic) baren in lieu of a printing press, see Image 5. Using a baren requires more physical work to print the image but has the advantage of having no size restrictions. See Image 6 for pulling the first test print of a new design. Once the image is printed its installation depends on the effects Trueman want to achieve. He can use an archival mount by securing it onto board using rice starch paste,while some other woodcuts are allowed to hang on their own to accentuate their raw paper qualities.