Sherrie York: Inspiration and Exploration

Sketching goshawks on the nest, Colorado.

Sketching goshawks on the nest, Colorado.

My relationships with both the outdoors and art came slowly. I had no particular inclination towards either in my youth, and it wasn’t until college (where I pursued a degree in education, not art or science!) that the ember was sparked.

Many years after college I started dabbling in linoleum block printing, because it was a process that required only simple carving tools, a brayer, and a spoon.

I became intrigued by unexpected challenges – such as suggesting subtle complexities in a naturally bold and graphic technique, and linocut soon became my primary medium. Printmaking is a labor-intensive process, but it is one that allows me to exercise many skills–drawing, carving, color– in thoughtful and ever-surprising ways.

As for subject matter, my fascination with nature seems clear. Curiosity about the natural world brought me into the spheres of scientists, biologists, and birders. My printmaker’s eye continues to seek out intricate flora, the behavior of birds, and patterns across land and seascapes.

I am especially interested in subjects that might be overlooked if I were moving too quickly through a landscape. Weedy tangles along a ditch or bones and feathers in a field suggest lives and stories outside my own, but connected to me in ways that aren’t always apparent.

Water in particular–its excess or its lack–shapes the landscapes and culture of my communities both on the Atlantic coast and in the heart of the Rockies. As a printmaker I find that water challenges me to find a balance between realism and abstraction. As a citizen of the earth it challenges me to find balanced and sustainable ways to conserve this essential and finite resource.