Faculty Of Fine Arts - Center For Graphic Art and Visual Researches ::  - English 
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REFLECTIONS - Elisabet Alsos Strand

Woodblock prints


Sea of trees is the name of a forest surrounded by myths at the foot of Mount Fuji, said to be the home of ghosts. The trees roots grow through lava which absorbs sound and enhances a rambler s sense of loneliness. The artist visited the forest during a stay in Japan when at a residency immersing herself in the Japanese woodcut mokuhanga technique.

In the exhibition, Strand shows woodcuts printed by hand with water and color on Japanese paper. By using water based inks, the mokuhanga printing method allows for a greater range of nuances and tones than the traditional western woodcut giving it a painterly quality. Colors rise from within the paper to form part of it, and the qualities of the paper itself becomes a component of the layered image. "Images of the floating world" known as the Japanese woodcut, or ukiyo- e spread in Europe throughout the 19th century. Ukiyo- e prints portray the worldly life of cities and eventually, landscape motifs. Historically, to produce a print, several craftsmen were involved in addition to the artist: a carpenter and printer, as well as the paper maker and those who shaped its specific tools. Carrying out the craft of mokuhanga is time consuming, yet printing is characterized by spontaneity and requires absolute mindfulness.

Aven, in Norway, lies in the heart of a dammed lake where the artist,s family owns a cabin. Trees rise both above and below the water and the reflections create a phantasmagorical world enclosing the cabin. Through her prints, the artist seeks to capture an essence of nature. Mokuhanga emerges from a fluid encounter with water, color and paper, and the image is shaped in this very moment. In Japanese language, the term "forest bathing" or shinrin-yokuembodies nature s healing and revitalizing effect on us. It is the experience of shinrin-yokuthat the artist conveys through the exhibition.

Some of the images in the exhibition are inspired by the passage along the coastline of North Norway where the artist was born. The mountains seem light and transparent as if made of thin coats of blue during summer, whereas in winter the snow creates graphic textures of black and white. The view from a distance, the horizon out of reach, makes you turn into a state of longing and belonging at the same time, Norway, literary the way north, links the journey and the landscape close together. Seas refers to the possibility of finding safe passages between the skerries. The series consists of imaginary views, referring to the stone temple gardens in Kyoto where open- or empty- spaces around the stones are equally important as the stones themselves. The format refers to the Eastern landscape painting presented as a scroll.


Elisabet Alsos Strand is born in Mo iRana and lives in Trondheim, Norway. She holds a MFA from the Bergen Academy of Art and Design and was awarded a PhD in Art from the Matejko Art Academy of Krakow, Poland. She has worked as a printmaker for thirty years. Her main media of expression is printmaking and artists  books.Strand has participated in numerous exhibitions in Norway and abroad and received in 2006 the Kunstklubben Prize for best print at the National Annual Autumn Exhibition in Oslo. Her works are presented in public and private collections in Norway and abroad and she has been assigned several public art commissions. She is the initiator and coordinator of several international collaborations and exhibitions.