Vija Celmins

I’ve been revisiting Vija Celmin’s prints of water as a resource for this project. She’s originally from Latvia, although she studied and currently works in the US. While her subject matter is directly related to mine, her approach and technique could not be more different. Celmins works primarily in printmaking and drawing, and her technical processes are intensive and extremely time consuming. What I’ve always admired about her work is the balance of simplicity and complexity; on one side her work is so subtle in it’s presentation, yet the making of the work is a major technical undertaking which is extremely detail oriented.

Vija Celmins, Untitled (Big Sea #1), graphite on paper, 1969

Celmins is a great resource for me to be looking at, especially in terms of this idea of layers in water that I discussed in the previous post. In this print below, it’s hard to believe that a medium as precise and rigid as a wood engraving could become so atmospheric and full of depth.

Vija Celmins, Ocean Surface, wood engraving, 2000


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