The Gallery on Garrison Ft Smith AR January 8, 2022
Frank Goff’s Artist Statement
Gallery On Garrison, Fort Smith, Arkansas January 2022 Exhibition
In this exhibition you will find several different approaches to how I go about making things. The series of botanical illustrations are straight forward observations of plants growing in my wife's garden. My intention was to draw what I saw in front of me as accurately as possible, using the medium of scratchboard. The process involves directly engraving with a sharp tool on a piece of hardboard covered in fine white clay then sprayed with black India ink. Carefully scratching through the black ink reveals the white clay underneath. I prefer to use an X-Acto knife as my engraving tool to create razor thin lines and hatch marks, as well as stippling to produce rich texture and volume. The contrast between the black ink and brilliant white clay produces dramatic lighting effects. Color was added using transparent acrylic ink. It can be a tedious process that requires careful planning and concentrated focus. However, the final results can be well worth the effort.
I enjoy using direct carving techniques to carve wood. In direct carving, you do not have a preconceived idea of what the final result will be. No preliminary drawings or models are used. You work with the material first and let it suggest what it wants to become. After the tree bark is removed, limbs trimmed off, and knots that cause cracking and splitting are taken out, what is left can give you ideas about what to do next. The grain of the wood often has interesting patterns that can be developed. Holes in the wood, large knots, cut off tree limbs and burls morph into animals and human-like shapes. My approach is to let go and cooperate with the unconscious and the brain’s ability to quickly perceive patterns. After discovering what seems to be in the wood, the work of carving, sanding and shaping begins. Now the task is to coax out the forms already waiting there, animate the dead wood and give it a new life. The following poem catches the experience of discovering something warm and living hidden beneath what appeared to be lifeless and cold. “
"Bare branches of each tree
on this chilly January morn
look so cold so forlorn.
Gray skies dip ever so low
left from yesterday's dusting of snow.
Yet in the heart of each tree
waiting for each who wait to see
new life as warm sun and breeze will blow,
like magic, unlock springs sap to flow,
buds, new leaves, then blooms will grow."
- Nelda Hartmann, January Morn
It is my hope that those viewing this exhibit will find a connection with the natural world and the cycle of life.
Frank Goff January 8, 2022