Helmut Becker: Woodcuts Relief Carved & Prints: A Retrospective
Where: Westland Gallery
When: February 5th – February 16th 2018
Contact: Al or Karen Stewart, Westland Gallery
156 Wortley Rd at Bruce St, London Ontario, CA
Gallery Hours: Tuesday ~ Friday 10 – 6 pm, Saturday 10 – 5 pm, Sunday 12 – 4 pm
About the Exhibition
A retrospective exhibition of work by London artist Helmut Becker is opening at Westland Gallery on Tuesday February 5th. Becker, a professor emeritus at Western University, has served as an important printmaker within Canadian art and art internationally. Becker will be present at the opening reception and will be giving an artist talk, dates below.
The exhibition showcases Becker’s well-known wood engravings alongside the original relief carved woodblocks used to generate them.“During his visit to Regina in 1963, internationally acclaimed art critic Clement Greenberg saw Becker’s woodcut blocks and suggested that they never be marred or destroyed – as is common practice when a print edition is complete – but instead saved for a future exhibition. It is the culmination of this lifetime of work that we are so excited to be exhibiting,” explains Danielle Hoevenaars, the gallery’s Associate Director.
“This exhibition highlights the labour and precision involved in wood engraving. Becker’s prints have been exhibited extensively in Canada and worldwide, but only rarely have his woodblocks been showcased as a form of relief sculpture. The blocks, low contrast images from afar, draw the viewer close. Standing in front of these sculptural pieces, you can relish in subtlety of the black ink on the brown wood grain and appreciate the deep grooves left by Helmut’s engraving tools.”
Helmut Becker was born in 1931 in the Alberta Badlands and grew up in rural Saskatchewan, where he was strongly influenced by artist and teacher Wynona Mulcaster. Her approach to art as a heartfelt method of communication resonated with the young Becker. Becker studied Art and Art History at the University of Saskatchewan and Printmaking and Drawing at the University of Wisconsin
Throughout his career, Becker has taught Printmaking at Nova Scotia College of Art, the University of Calgary and at Western University. He was President of the Canadian Society of Graphic Art, 1975, 1976, and was instrumental in negotiating the amalgamation of the Canadian Society of Graphic Art and the Society of Canadian Painter-Etchers and Engravers to form a new group, the Print and Drawing Council of Canada.
He has exhibited widely, here in Canada and worldwide including in Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal, as well as in England, The Netherlands, Slovakia, Hungary, Denmark, Belgium, Wales, France, Japan and the US.
The exhibition runs from February 5th – February 16th. There will be an Opening Reception on Saturday February 9th from 2 to 4 pm and an Artist Talk on Wednesday February 13th at 7 pm.