Meet Birgitta Volz, an Aurovillean artist who experiments with tree bark to print summary items of artwork
In 1996, when German visible artist Birgitta Volz was dabbling with wooden printing and tree bark printing, she felt notably interested in a relatively “unspectacular” willow (Salix caprea) tree. She instantly began engaged on a big, summary composition because the tree’s bark patterns weren’t uniform. But owing to sturdy winds, she had to surrender. Just a few days later, when she appeared on the outcome, she was shocked — “My composition appeared like a life-size witch!”
Incidentally, Volz discovered that within the Alps, there’s a point out of a personality ‘the white girl or salic girl’ who’s known as the altering spirit of the willow. This was the begin to an extended and eye-opening journey with bark printing for the artist, who moved to Auroville in 2005.
The method includes making use of natural color onto tree bark, and superimposing it with paper or material, to obtain prints that mimic patterns seen on the outer pores and skin of the bark. The artist, who has 100 solo exhibits and over 200 group exhibits throughout 20 nations to her credit score, is at the moment exhibiting a set of bark prints in an exhibition titled Temple Tree on the Pavilion of Tibetan Culture International Zone, Auroville.
“I’ve at all times cherished wooden prints and slowly realized to take prints from uneven and large wood planks, the place one can’t use a press. I even did my very own wood sculptures and printed them. Then in 1994, I printed a bit of recent bark for the primary time and to my shock, it labored,” says Volz. She has not appeared again since. “The tree will get a very good cleansing with a brush earlier than I apply a skinny layer of natural oil color on the outer pores and skin. Then I pin paper or material on it, and rub the color by way of, with comfortable strain,” Volz explains, including that the method is totally innocent to the tree, since there are not any chemical compounds or solvents concerned.
The prints are left to dry in a single day. While most prints could seem summary, some patterns give technique to figures that come up naturally. “I by no means manipulate the tree. The print making is like meditation in movement. I not often see photos on the bark; all I management is the composition. Figures grow to be seen solely later within the studio. I generally draw or paint round what I uncover, to make them perceptible,” Volz provides.
In her present exhibition, the main target is on prints from a tree positioned subsequent to the Pavilion of Tibetan Culture. When she began engaged on this tree, she had a “obscure feeling that [the Hindu god] Ganesha would present up”. And, so half of the prints function summary manifestations of Ganesha.
A tree, says Volz, says quite a bit concerning the surroundings it’s in. “It appears as if the bushes document the historical past of their place, and of its ‘clandestine’ inhabitants,” she provides. For occasion, a few years in the past, she had printed a 3,000-year-old baobab tree that led her to quite a lot of tales surrounding African tradition. She has additionally been to Bangladesh to print one of many partitions of an outdated palace.
By May, the artist plans to maneuver most of her prints to Germany, because the local weather in Auroville is just not very best for the paper.
Temple Tree can be on view until March 2.