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Gordon Mortensen – Woodcut Artist

Gordon Mortensen - Ice Plant, Carmel  - 24x38 - New Masters Gallery - Carmel Art Galleries
Jade Beach

MortensenNew-Whalers Cove-10x8
Whaler’s Cove

I recently visited the community of Carmel-by-the-Sea, which is reportedly the home of over 80 art galleries. I explored a few galleries that specialize in California landscapes and nature photography, but one gallery that caught my eye was the New Masters Gallery. The owner of this gallery represents an artist named Gordon Mortensen who is a modern practitioner of the ancient art of woodcut prints. At this gallery I saw some amazing woodcut prints that were created in this unique way that I had never seen before.

Mortensen produces some remarkably detailed and colorful prints using the woodcut printmaking technique where images are carved into blocks or sheets of wood and then printed onto paper by rolling paint over the carved block and pressing it onto the paper. Then the carved block is altered or another block is used and the next color is applied. This seems like an incredibly intricate and tedious process, but the result is amazing and very different from a normal painting.

I am inspired by Mortensen’s work because he uses an ancient technique that originated in Europe in the 1400’s and became popular in China and Japan in the 1700’s. But Mortensen uses the technique in a modern way to create beautiful modern images of California coastal landscapes. His work can be seen on permanent display at the Monterey Plaza Hotel in Monterrey, or to see more you can visit the New Masters Gallery in Carmel or view his work online at the links below.

By Brandon Powers


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