Thursday, December 19, 2013

Raymond Verdaguer's Smack-down Prints

Raymond Verdaguer, b.1947 in the French Pyrenees, is of Catalan descent but claims Canadian citizenship. He is a popular printmaker and illustrator, currently living in New York. What struck me about Verdaguer’s prints was their bold, direct statement; even if the image was simply executed. They pack a wallop, and some of them can knock you out of the proverbial park.
I like this work, and respond equally to his black/white and color pieces. They sing with a similar bravado of a Fernand Leger, an 20thc. French artist known for his vibrant Cubist compositions. The smack-you-in-the-face message of Verdaguer’s images is what makes him such a breath of fresh air in a medium often challenged by an audience who are ignorant of the technical hurdles we printmakers face when making an image, or lack patience deciphering subject and content. Verdaguer gets right to it, doesn’t mince words and communicates more directly than anyone I’ve seen for some time.
Since 1976, Verdaguer has made prints which have been published in numerous books, newspapers and magazines such as The New York Times, Harper 's Magazine, Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Magazine, Libération, International Herald Tribune, Le Point, Le Monde diplomatique, amongst others . As a book illustrator, Verdaguer works for a number of major publishers in the U.S. and Europe ( Hachette Livre , Random House, Viking Penguin , etc.)
His images utilize strong compositions of shapes and contrasts. He usually deals with social-political-ethical issues. His illustrations show the disillusioned and suffering from an anthropological perspective. He presents to us the man suffering today as the one eternally suffering. Some of the subjects shown here deal with AIDS, mental illness, the human guinea pigs of medical genetic innovations, religion, human torture, fighting ignorance through education and man’s survival in war-ravaged areas. His work is candid and effective, which is the best thing I can say about anyone’s work, and so often cannot.
Verdaguer has shown his work in galleries throughout Canada, Croatia, France and New York City.
More of this printmaker’s highly desirable prints may be found at Start collecting these now, folks.....

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