In this age where we’re bombarded from all sides by color — often intense and accompanied by motion — it’s easy to become jaded and insensitive to the visual charms of monochromatic images.
Just as we sometimes need to turn off the screens and the fast pace of moden life in order to appreciate the quiet joys of a slower lifestyle, it’s worth taking a step back and looking afresh at the visual charms of images in which the power of composition and value give us a different view of the importance of color.
Stow Wengenroth was an American artist active in the early to mid 20th century who was known promarily for his stone lithography. In ccontrast to the often linear nature of many other printmaking techniques, lithography deals primarily in value — lights and darks — as well as texture.
Wengenroth delves into the realm of value like he was swimming in his natural environment; shadows and light play games of balance and focus, drawing us into his carefully designed compositions. Tone and texture control our gaze, bringing our attention inexorably to the focus he intends.
Take a few minutes to slow down and allow yourself to be enchanted by his monochromatic world. The reproductions of his prints on the National Gallery of Art website are the largest and best reproductions I could find.
[Suggestion courtesy of Geri Huxsoll]