STATEMENT Although I consider myself mainly a printmaker, the work in this exhibition is mostly from a period when I painted in oil on shaped wood supports. This was the work that led into my work in Japanese woodblock printmaking. The supports were cut with a saber saw, and hung directly on the wall, where the printing blocks are carved in shallow relief and the shapes printed on paper. Birds being banded or tracked by radio, bats using echolocation or owls grabbing a tasty rat for dinner, the subject matter is consistent through all my work. It is a look at human beings’ equivocal relation with nature, measuring, testing, looking for patterns.
I use images of flowers, insects and other bits of nature in all my work, but fundamentally it is about finding order. This leads me to include human structures alongside natural forms, since I understand these to arise from the same impulse. In the etching “Counterfeit” I include moths with eye-spots alongside a Greek eye-cup that (not coincidentally) shows the same protective eye pattern. In “High Tension” birds circle around high tension electrical cables that energy from here to there. I suppose it is my way of taking control of these ubiquitous emblems of human power over the environment to string the towers on my own power line, like laundry.
BIOGRAPHY April Vollmer is a New York artist and educator who makes books, prints and photographs, but specializes in mokuhanga, Japanese woodcut. She earned her M.F.A. from Hunter College, New York, in 1983, and first visited Japan with the Nagasawa Art Park Program in 2004. Since that time she has worked primarily in mokuhanga. She has taught classes in mokuhanga at the Japan Society and the Lower East Side Printshop in New York; Cabrillo College and Kala Art Institute in California; MakingArtSafely in New Mexico; The Morgan Conservatory in Ohio; Art Print Residence in Spain, as well as many other locations. She has given lectures and demonstrations at many universities and independent print shops and has assisted in the organization of several exhibitions of contemporary mokuhanga.
Vollmer actively promotes cultural exchange through a study of mokuhanga and is on the board of the triennial International Mokuhanga Conferences. She was communications advisor for the Third International Mokuhanga Conference, in Hawaii, which attracted a hundred participants from sixteen countries. In addition to exhibiting her prints, her work has been published in journals including Science, Printmaking Today and Contemporary Impressions. Her book on the history and contemporary use of mokuhanga, Japanese Woodblock Print Workshop was released by Watson-Guptill in 2015.