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Clifford Ross : Prints on Wood

RYAN LEE is pleased to present Clifford Ross: Prints on Wood, an exhibition of photo-based images by multimedia artist Clifford Ross. The exhibit will include new works in which Ross pursues his long-standing interest in capturing the sublime in nature by printing on hand selected maple veneer. Stark black & white negative of details taken from his magisterial high-resolution color photographs of Mount Sopris, as well, dramatic crops of his black & white hurricane wave photographs. The altered images, in combination with the varied color and texture of the wood as a substrate, add drama and a distinctly non-photographic quality to Ross’s compositions, pushing his work toward the realms of drawing and painting, his original media.

“I’ve been missing the materiality of paint and canvas and found this mix of imagery and materials propelled my photography into an unexplored place,” Ross explains. “I was constantly surprised by what I was seeing in the studio.  Who doesn’t want to see and experience something new?  The new awakes us from our normal state…  Nature was appearing before me in an oblique way – like a dream, by suggestion not by declaration.  The wood surface foils the transformed imagery, engaging us to decipher anew what we think we know. These are not photographs that allow for passive viewing.”

An interest that began as a vision for large-scale wooden frescos at a public building in Texas, Ross found himself pushing hard at the existing boundaries of photography to establish his process with wood—so much so that he has trouble even referring to these works as photographs. Instead, for him they have become “wood prints or prints on wood.”

On view at the gallery are ten unique single wood panel prints made during the last several years. These new works explore isolated details of earlier, monumentally scaled works that range up to an astounding 26 x 114’. Each of these new works is unique, a singular exploration of image and veneer, utilizing an innovative technique of digital printing.

In pursuit of nature’s beauty and the sublime, whether through realism or abstraction, Ross is perpetually at the forefront of the various media with which he has worked. In 2003, he invented one of the highest resolution film cameras in the world, following that with breakthrough techniques in the use of Photoshop and then computer generated animation. His recent Digital Waves combined advanced computer animation with a new use of LED panels to capture the dramatic movement of ocean waves. 

By succumbing to the unfathomable complexity and beauty of nature — from the chaos of a hurricane’s effect on the ocean to the overwhelming mass of details that make up a simple but grand mountain scene — Ross has placed himself in a long line of artists who present us with an invitation to join in the experience of wonder – a rare experience in today’s world.  It is no wonder that environmentalists see his work as a profound reminder of the world that must be cherished – and protected.

Ross’s wood prints have been included in solo exhibitions at the Parrish Art Museum, the Boca Raton Museum of Arts, and MASS MoCA.  They will also be featured in his next museum exhibit, Clifford Ross: Sightlines, opening at the Portland Museum of Art in October 2021.

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