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Maya Sternberg

linoleum block print
7″ x 5″


Casey Roonan, Comics Artist & Cartoonist

Casey Roonan
Cartoonist & Comics Artist

Artist Statement
“For this piece, I decided to work with a linoleum block as I haven’t done a print in years. In order to differentiate between light and shadow, I experimented with my personal doodling style: drawing various amorphous shapes that fit together, yet never touch. I usually do these doodles in pen, so I found it very refreshing to try it out with carving, having to focus on the negative space between the shapes rather than shapes themselves.”

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Video transcript
“It’s great to see a piece that is so expressive, and also interested in something beyond purely creating the best possible likeness.  It’s really compelling to me that you’ve created this inventive patterning within the shadows of your face, and in areas like under your chin, and on your forehead that creates a real interest because it manages to, both describe the three-dimensional service of your face, while also obscuring your specific features.  

I would love to see you push that attention a little bit further though, I think they’re areas where you to pair that detail down.  Particularly in the hand that’s being pressed against the face, because I feel like that should really read more clearly.  

I keep finding myself drawn to the eyes in this piece though, and I think that’s because you strike an excellent balance there, between this stark positive and negative.  The white on the left eye and the black surrounding the right eye, and just this really fine, again, pattern that you create to surround both.  There’s a lot of tension there that makes the piece very provocative.”

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4 responses on "Maya Sternberg"

  1. I love seeing that you’re working with linoleum block prints, that’s so exciting! I’m also all for using patterns to describe forms. I wonder what would happen if you let your intentional doodling style meld with the ridges left over when you cut a linoleum block? I think the two types of patterns would work in harmony with each other, and I could see for instance using those ridges to dictate the texture of the hair, while your doodle forms represent the shadowing on the skin.

    I would love to see the white swatches used a bit more deliberately. I think the white on the right side of the face and in the eyes is really beautiful and striking. But I think you could have a more organized approach with it around the chin and neck, where it looks like you want light to hit, but the same sized black pieces dispersed throughout make it hard to read as light. Your marks for the most part are amorphous and static. This is fine, but having some marks with firmer directionality will organize that space better. But otherwise, I think this is a great medium for you, and I’d love to see you explore further with it!

  2. This is sweet! This piece is an awesome exploration of a new medium (which, independently of the success or shortcomings in a piece, is always a great feature! We feel a lot of pressure in school and social media with art to make every piece “a success” but learning and playing is just as important). Something you should notice with this piece is when the black denotes shadow (pocket of eyes, under nose) and when it denotes shape (the braid). You’re doing a great job differentiate in some areas, but in others it’s a little confusing. The right eye has a great look of shadows around the form, but the black shapes on the right cheek almost look like a substance climbing up the face. When I look at it, I think the difference is pattern! Play around with that element, try to replicate as much as you can with those complex shapes!

  3. One of the most exciting sections of this piece is where the braids and the neck almost melt into each other into abstract shapes, in that section the piece becomes much less literal and starts to transform beyond just being a figure. I would recommend getting much thinner linoleum cutters, it looks like you didn’t have a very wide range of cutter sizes when you made this print? I don’t know if you were using an iron to heat up your linoleum block, but I have found that the smallest cutter sizes really need to be used on cold linoleum, as warmed up linoleum doesn’t cut very cleanly at a small scale.

  4. I love how you’re interpreting light and shadows to create a mosaic-like texture!

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