“Xylographic – Biographic” Featuring the work of artist, William M. Bogdan, in the Little Art Gallery

The Little Art Gallery of the North Canton Public Library will host William M. Bogdan’s art exhibit “Xylographic – Biographic” beginning June 15, 2017. The exhibit will be displayed through July 15, 2017.

Xylography: the art of making woodcuts or wood engravings, especially by a relatively primitive technique

Biography: an account of the series of events making up a person’s life

An opening reception, hosted by Friends of the Little Art Gallery, will be held Thursday, June 15, 2017 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Hors d’oeuvres and light refreshments will be served. All are welcome.


     Artist Statement by William M. Bogdan

What kind of art do you do?” asked the lady artist whom I had just met.

“I do large black and white woodcuts.” I replied.

“No. I mean, ‘What kind of art do you do?’” she repeated in the exact same words but different emphasis and cadence.

“My art is autobiographical” I thought to say. This seemed to be the acceptable answer. But often since, I have wondered if this is true. True enough?

Upon graduation from the University of Akron with three plus years of accelerated art training, I knew for certain what course my life should take: I would be a book illustrator. While this didn’t happen as a career, it didn’t change that in art this is what I am, an illustrator – as such, one who tells the story visually in a straightforward representational manner – nothing too “artsy.”

But what story? What book? In 2013, I set about making a series of related pictures intended to capture my life as observed; past, present, and perhaps oddly, in dreams. They would be as photo snapshots kept in an album . . . keepsakes that preserve a moment in time, but with a story before and aft that is meaningful to me.

But what album? It would be gallery or museum walls. This was always the intent and the focus of the protect.

This exhibit is that album.

Disjointed scenes of a life lived half in nighttime dreams. Memory holders of what? Of whom? Wood, ink, paper – stuff of another age. Like me. Not perfect. Film noir. Cuz I never dreamed in Technicolor.  Poetry, not prose. My biography.

The Art:

My woodcut prints are not intended to look like or be made as typical woodcuts. As an illustrator, my sole focus is on the drawing. The woodcut process serves only to reproduce the drawing in a way artistically legitimate in copied form.

To reproduce the drawing as drawing I use laminate board (oak) or poplar planks with smooth surfaces mostly void of their wood origins, as though a blank sheet of paper. After carefully making the drawing, the cutting involves not much more than removing the white of the black and white drawing. This I do with but three tools: a scratch awl, one woodcarver tool with a straight blade, and a common 12 penny nail.

Although all black and white images, several different styles of drawing were employed to fit the look to the subject. This varies from pictures intended to appear as though dashed-off in a few minutes, to ones very precisely rendered. In all cases, typically one woodcut picture takes two weeks to do.

The inking is also non-typical. For one thing, I don’t use a printing press. Then too, the ink is Akua water-based soy ink intended for intaglio and etching, not woodcuts. But the ink (color: carbon black) works well for my purposes. I rework the inked board with a putty knife and paper towel to add texture and effect. I print on inexpensive smooth thin paper, thin enough that the ink bleeds through the paper’s reverse side, allowing me to see and further control the image being made, which I do with a large spoon to vary value (light and dark). Sometimes, I “double-hit” the paper on the inked board (on purpose) to produce an offset shading effect.

Consequently, every print I do in the run is different. Moreover, in a run of 10 print copies, I keep only one or two that I consider worthy of the original drawing. Hence the edition number of say, “2/10,” should be interpreted as my guarantee that only 10 will ever exist in the public realm, the “2” signifying the second print of whatever run of many is needed to produce 10 keepable copies.

So, nothing typical. (Nor, it would seem, am I.)

For additional information, please contact library community relations manager, Christina Weyrick, at 330.499.4712 x331 orcweyrick@northcantonlibrary.org.