Humour

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Oh No!
woodcut, black and white, humourous, cowboy, rural life, coyotes, horse, animation, playful, illustration, sense of play, child-like imagery, spontaneous,text, folk-art influence, country music, satirical, horror-vacui,visual texture, pattern, Woodcut, cowboy, horse, guitar, coyote, campfire
description

In the  woodcutA print made by cutting a design in side-grain of a block of wood, also called a woodblock print. The ink is transferred from the raised surfaces to paper. (Artlex.com)   printAn exactly repeatable visual statement which exists as two-dimensional physical material.  Oh No! we see a guitar-playing cowboy who is seated near a fire and surrounded by a number of animals. The coyotes are howling in the distance and the cowboy is singing. The horse does not appear to appreciate the singer's rendition, as the cloud above his head says, "Oh No! Not Again!" Yuristy playfully gives the animals human qualities.

Russell Yuristy is clearly having fun with his choice of  subjectA topic or idea represented in an art work.  matter for Oh No!. He uses a naïve almost child-like  styleA way of doing something. Use of materials, methods of working, design qualities and choice of subject matter reflect the style of the individual, culture, movement, or time period.  of imagery, combined with a sense of humour to produce his technically astute and visibly enjoyable work. As your eye travels around the print you are treated things like smoke and steam that turn into hearts, a curvaceous woman ‘night bird’ in the distance, a bewildered rabbit who is taking in the performance, the night sky and many ‘little dogies’ or cattle who are oblivious to their keeper’s entertainment off in the distance at the camp site. Yuristy’s inspiration is based on real-life experiences with nature, animals and  popular cultureLow (as opposed to high) culture, parts of which are known as kitsch and camp. With the increasing economic power of the middle- and lower-income populace since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century, artists created various new diversions to answer the needs of these groups. These have included pulp novels and comic books, film, television, advertising, "collectibles," and tract housing. These have taken the place among the bourgeois once taken among the aristocracy by literature, opera, theater, academic painting, sculpture, and architecture. But modernist artists rarely cultivated the popular success of these new cultural forms. Modernist works were little appreciated outside of a small elite. Life magazine's 1950s articles on the abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock (American, 1912-1956), and the silkscreened paintings by Andy Warhol (American, 1928?-1987) of soup cans and celebrities signaled unprecedented fusions between high and low art and the transition to the postmodern age. (Artlex.com)  (country music and cowboys), as well as on an appreciation of the world around him.

Funk art is a movement that originated on the west coast of the United States in the 1960s and '70s. This style was a reaction against the popular  abstractImagery which departs from representational accuracy, to a variable range of possible degrees. Abstract artists select and then exaggerate or simplify the forms suggested by the world around them.  (Artlex.com)   expressionism(with an upper-case E — the more specific sense) An art movement dominant in Germany from 1905-1925, especially Die Brücke and Der Blaue Reiter, which are usually referred to as German Expressionism, anticipated by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 1746-1828), Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890), Paul Gauguin (French, 1848-1903) and others. See an article devoted exclusivly to Expressionism, which includes examples of Expressionist works, quotations, etc.  (Artlex.com)  art movement of the time. Artists involved in  funkAn art movement in the 1950’s and 60’s that grew from a reaction against abstract expressionism. In California, the Funk Art movement was embraced by clay artists who were instrumental in moving clay from it’s traditionally functionally role to that of a sculptural art form. Artists often combined a play on words (puns), the popular culture and their own environments as inspiration for their often humorous imagery.  art sought more  realismThe realistic and natural representation of people, places, and/or things in a work of art. The opposite of idealization. One of the common themes of postmodernism is that this popular notion of an unmediated presentation is not possible. This sense of realism is sometimes considered synonymous with naturalism. (artlex.com)  and social responsibility in their work. This style was widely endorsed and adapted by artists on the Saskatchewan  prairies like Vic Cicansky, Joe Fafard and David Thauberger, who used their environment and experience as inspiration for their work.

This woodcut print was initially made by carving directly into a smooth flat block of wood. All areas to remain white in the print are carved away while the black areas are left untouched. The carving lines and the directions the artist carved become important textural considerations for the final image. In printing this woodblock, Yuristy would roll a thin layer of black  inkLiquid or paste media containing pigment(s) and used for writing, pen and brush drawing, and printing. Writing inks, even blacks, are rarely sufficiently permanent to be used for art purposes. Black drawing ink, known as India ink in the United States, is especially made for use in permanent works. When it dries it is water resistant, enabling it to be gone over with a wash or watercolour. Also available is a water-soluble drawing ink; though otherwise permanent, it is capable of being washed away with water, and may be preferred to water-resistant ink for certain work. Chinese ink is similar to India ink, although various minor ingredients are added to enhance its brilliancy, range of tone, and working qualities. Most colored drawing inks are not permanent; those made with permanent pigments are usually labeled with names of pigment ingredients rather than the names of hues. Printing ink is actually more closely related to paints than to the pen and brush inks. (Artlex.com)  over the carved surface and drop a sheet of clean white paper on top. The back of the paper is then rubbed with a  barenIn Japanese printmaking tradition, a small, flat pad of woven bamboo bark used to impress a print from a wood block. (Artlex.com) You can read more about barens at Serendipity Artist: http://serendipityartist.wordpress.com/2007/10/27/the-difference-a-baren-can-make-in-woodblock-printmaking/.  or the artist’s hands. Where the paper touches the surface of the wood block the ink is transferred. The resulting print is black-and-white with many patterns and textural components.

 

additional resources Interview with Timothy Long - Funk Art and the Regina Clay Movement
Duration: 3:35 min
Size: 15193kb
Things to Think About
  • From observing Oh No!, do you think Russell Yuristy appreciates or dislikes country music? Is he having fun with the genre of country music or is he referring to the singing cowboys of 1950s and 1960s radio and television? Is this a typical cowboy scene or is it a stereotypical image of a cowboy? Discuss stereotypes of artists.
  • Do you think Russell Yuristy drew this image first, and transferred it backwards to his block or did he carve directly into the block? Imagine you are flipping the image of the print over and holding it to the light.  What do you think?
  • What is horror vacui?  Does Yuristy use this in his work?
Studio Activity

Linoleum block print

  • Use carving tools to carve out the white areas.  NOTE:  To be safe, remember to always carve away from yourself.
  • Reproduce your image by placing the inked block carefully on a clean piece of paper.
  • Put your prints in a safe place to dry.
  • When the prints are dry, use a pencil to number, title and sign your prints. 
  • When you are designing, remember that everything you print will be printed in reverse.
  • If you want text to appear so it can be read easily from left to right, you must write the word backwards on the block.
  • After a few practices, you could experiment with multi-coloured prints.

Visual texture

Visual  textureThe quality of surface in a finished artwork; note that this can apply to painting in describing the way that the paint is applied to the canvas or other support; to sculpture in describing the way that the material used is made smooth or rough; or to video in describing the way that the light-based image is either smooth or visibly broken up into pixels.  is an important part of Russell Yuristy’s Oh No!. Notice how the artist uses repeated lines to create patterns. Many of the  patternRepeating lines, colours or shapes within a design.  lines are either going with the wood grain horizontally or against it vertically. This helps to unify the work.

Make a conscious effort to include  textureThe quality of surface in a finished artwork; note that this can apply to painting in describing the way that the paint is applied to the canvas or other support; to sculpture in describing the way that the material used is made smooth or rough; or to video in describing the way that the light-based image is either smooth or visibly broken up into pixels.  in a print design.

Experiment with blind contour  drawingDepiction of shapes and forms on a surface chiefly by means of lines. Colour and shading may be included. A major fine art technique in itself, drawing is the basis of all pictorial representation, and an early step in most art activities. Though an integral part of most painting, drawing is generally differentiated from painting by the dominance of line over mass. There are many sorts of drawing techniques, varying according to the effect the artist wants, and depending on whether the drawing is an end in itself — an independent and finished work of art -- or a preliminary to some other medium or form — although distinct from the final product, such drawings also have intrinsic artistic value. Preliminary drawings include various exercises (e.g., contour drawing, gesture drawing, figure drawing, drawing from the flat), as well as sketches and studies, cartoons and underdrawings. (Artlex.com) 

  • Keep working on the same paper and let the drawings overlap.
  • This will produce an abstracted finished drawing with textural highlights.

Animal/human

Make a drawing or  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  where you give humorous human qualities to an animal, or add humorous animal features to a human.

References

Krueger, Julia.  ‘Russell Yuristy.’  Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan.  Retrieved from the Internet on August 12, 2008 from:  http://esask.uregina.ca/entry/yuristy_russell_1936-.html

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning