Salida, CO | April, 2016
It isn’t a sofa that fills up most of the living room of Sherrie York’s apartment in Salida—it’s an etching press. Across the room, there’s a work in progress on her drafting board. Carving tools are strewn about, and linoleum scraps are sprinkled randomly on the desktop. The most recent linoleum plate is laying there waiting for the next carving, next to the most recent pull in the edition. It is a mirror image of the plate, going the opposite direction.
Fresh prints are drying on racks, which are lined up against the opposite wall. There’s a large doorway into the kitchen, where the open back door reveals a big grassy back yard with sprinklers on, twinkling water catching the sunshine. The kitchen is a nice place to pass the time while prints are drying.
Many artists get their heavy equipment used, because very few can afford to buy such things brand new. There is usually some kind of epic schlep associated with the acquisition. Sherrie’s press is a used one, and had to be transported halfway across the country. Now that it is in her home, she dreads the hassle of ever having to move it anywhere else again. But it made it possible for her to exchange her hand-rubbing spoon and baren for some mechanical muscle, and now she is doing brilliant editions.
The small wildflower print on the drafting board that Sherrie thought she could pull together quickly had drawn her into a classic conundrum. Many printmakers begin their process with detailed color sketches and plans, but Sherrie had plunged in with only a simple line drawing and an idea of the mood she wanted to create. After printing the third color, she was already lamenting her “minimalist planning behavior.” But she also understood herself well enough to know she can usually resolve things on the fly, even if it sometimes leads to challenges. She enjoys the tension this creates. (Except when she doesn’t…)
This is an artist with an eye and an appetite for meticulous detail. She records every twig, pine needle and pebble in her bird’s eye view groundscapes, and every tiny ripple in her waterscapes; building up layers of ink and cut strokes to create complex textures. She notices the ways that shadows hug the curves of snowbanks and wants to share that. Today’s print is developing in line with those standards — she is expertly carving away the curves of tiny bluebells with arrow shaped leaves, achieving the illusion of light hitting the petals after laying down three colors of ink. But there will be more! She just isn’t sure what yet.
Nature and wildflowers are favorites, but most of all, she loves the subject of birds. Sherrie has worked with raptors at an environmental education foundation, banded songbirds with the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, and provided illustrations for many national conservation organizations and natural resource agencies.
She showed us a large set of postcard-sized bird prints, hand tinted with watercolor. When she first got her press, to try it out she made a set of prints all on one sheet, with just black ink. The use of black in this way was very fluid and graphic. Then she cut up the sheets and hand painted each individual little print. These are sold separately and they are very precious, each one being one of a kind.
Sherrie Yorks’s work is very popular at Ann Korologos Gallery since we started representing her in January of this year. She will soon be creating some original new works for our August and December exhibitions. Her growing number of followers in the Aspen area and beyond are happily waiting to see what new offerings she will bring.
We’re really glad we found her, and we wish this intrepid artist all the best. Sherrie: May you always find your way even without a plan, and may all your heavy equipment issues become lighter.