Cyril Power’s The Eight is probably the one and only linoleum art piece that I appreciate and love. I’m not a huge fan of patterns and symmetrical repetition (with the exception of batiks). But I can gaze into this print on several different extended afternoons and feel a new aesthetic vibe each time.
There’s a vibrant energy that resonates from the art piece. It may be because of the curved parallel lines that form the arcs. Although the activity in the picture assumes that it’s horizontally pushing through a body of open water, the arrangement of the print suggests an upward movement. The men in white shirts are neither covered in muscles nor tiny hints of sweat but the lines create their powerful agility. Something so simple can change an entire composition of art: lines. Imagine if the yellow perpendicular lines were non-existent. Would it look more peaceful, less strenuous? If the lines were orange instead of yellow, would it make a difference? How about red?
I love The Eight mainly for its achievement of artistic success without having to try so hard. That’s how it should be. There are so many works out there today that try to create art out of complex, symbolic representations. But sometimes these representations become so complicated that I get lost in translation and forget to appreciate the aesthetic quality. I’m not sure where you can go to see Power’s linoleum prints, especially this one, but I think they may have it at the MFA in Boston. That’s where I saw it last… :)