Alex Gama (1950 - )

Trama XXXIII (1997)
Pattern XXXIII

Wood engraving on Japanese paper
height: 47cm
width: 47cm

Donated by Alex Gama 2002


This is a witty and complex print. Three bold rectilinear forms rotate around an off-centre axis, each folding around a pattern of triangles incised with parallel lines. On closer inspection it becomes apparent, as in other works in the Trama series, that the wood block is divided into a grid, in this case of 25 squares. Most of the squares are then halved or quartered diagonally and these modules combined to build larger forms that cut across the underlying grid. Gama works with meticulous care, inking his blocks by hand to create the contrasts between the pure opacity of the red and black, the softer, more uneven texture of the light grey areas and, in the case of the third main strap form in the lower right, to allow the natural pattern of the wood grain to show through. The tonal crescendo of the composition from this dark grainy grey in the lower right, to black on the left and brilliant red of the upper centre is matched by a more subtle development: these three main forms are made up, respectively, of the equivalent of 7, 8 and 9 triangular half modules.

Valerie Fraser, 2008

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