Saturday, 26 July 2008

The Cycle by Neil Bousfield

Neil Bousfield is the only artist I know to produce a wood engraving of a Job Centre. This image expresses the tension between two brothers competing for little benefit, and both the subject and the artist's medium are handled with great delicacy.

The print is one of two hundred in Neil's 'novel in wood engravings', The Cycle, which he showed me recently. The narrative of The Cycle refers to a pattern of social exclusion repeated through the generations in a family who escape their difficult reality through crime and alcoholism.

The Society of Wood Engravers have sponsored Neil through recent printmaking projects. Nonetheless, with the epic project of this book before him, Neil took a very economical attitude to the job, and disciplined himself to produce one engraving every day. The integrity of art and politics calls to mind the book works of Frans Masereel. Neil is now planning a print series which will portray different aspects of the city of London. I can't wait to see it.

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