Puzzle Detail, David Umholtz

Webster-Ashburton Treaty, c.2000

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David Umholtz, Webster-Ashburton Treaty, c. 2000. Woodcut. From the Collections of the Tides Institute & Museum of Art.

Look and think about what you see.

Think about what you see in the art work:

• What’s going on in this picture?

Think about the seven elements of art:

color, form, line, shape, space, texture, and value

Can you find examples of these elements in any/some/or all of these images?

More about this work.

This week’s piece is a large (21”/53.3cm x 33”/83.8cm) hand printed woodcut, “Webster-Ashburton Treaty,” by artist, David Umholtz. Born in 1943 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Umholtz migrated to Canada in 1973 and spent much of his early years there in Manitoba where he established Moosehead Press 1977. Through his career, he taught at several universities in Canada as well as Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. In the 1980s he began to summer on Deer Island, New Brunswick where he built a studio and eventually moved there full time. He created a whole body of work that had map like qualities, some with historical references like “Webster-Ashburton Treaty” and some with geographical references like “Le Grand Vortex II” (also in the collections of the Tides Institute) associated with the large “Old Sow” whirlpool off the southern tip of Deer Island. The Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842 between the United States and Great Britain gave final definition to the boundary line through Passamaquoddy Bay where Deer Island is located with Grand Manan Island going to Great Britain (now Canada) and Moose Island (where Eastport, Maine is located) going to the United States. In addition to his career as a printmaker, Umholtz was also an avid sailor and could often be seen traversing the waters of Passamaquoddy Bay as he slowly made his way in his small sail powered dory from Deer Island crossing the Canada/U.S. border to Eastport. Late in his career, Umholtz was awarded the two leading artist awards in New Brunswick, the Strathbutler Prize in 2009 and the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Visual Art in 2012. Umholtz died in 2014. This particular woodcut was a gift to the Tides Institute by the artist. 

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