The University of San Francisco: College of Arts & Sciences

Woodcut Prints of the California Landscape by Tom Killion

Silent Poetry: Woodcut Prints of the California Landscape by Tom Killion

When: Friday, August 17, 2012 8:00 AM - Tuesday, October 9, 2012 11:00 PM

Where: Thacher Gallery


 Bay Area landscape artist, Tom Killion, brings his iconic California landscapes to the University of San Francisco’s Thacher Gallery with “Silent Poetry: Woodcut Prints of the California Landscape by Tom Killion” from August 17 to October 9, 2012.

A reception will take place in the gallery from 5:00-6:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 6, followed by an artist lecture from 6:00-7:00 p.m. in McLaren 250. In “Topofilia: The California Landscape in Japanese-style Woodcut Prints” Killion will use his extensive body of work to trace his development as a landscape artist and illustrate his techniques from his early single-color lino-cuts to the multi-block color woodcuts on display in “Silent Poetry.”

TKillion Born and raised in Mill Valley, Killion has a deep appreciation of California scenery from Big Sur to the High Sierras, finding the ideal locations for his on-site sketchesto create captivating panoramas. His prints capture the quiet ruggedness of the 21st century California landscape, fusing 19th century Japanese ukiyo-ë tradition with 20th century western wood-engraving and book illustration aesthetics. Dedicated to hand-drawn and hand-carved techniques, his influences include the Japanese masters Hokusai and Hiroshige as well as European and American wood-engravers such as Eric Gill and Rockwell Kent. Since his beginning in 1975, he has created over 400 relief prints, many incorporating increasingly sophisticated multi-block color techniques using as many as a dozen colors. In 2000 and 2009 Killion published two books, The High Sierras of California and Tamalpais Walking, in collaboration with Pulitzer-prize winning poet Gary Snyder. Like Snyder’s poetry, Killion’s artistic style is truly Pacific Rim in its merging of eastern and western techniques, transforming familiar landmarks such as the Golden Gate into dreamscapes, or as described in Japanese, “floating worlds.” 

Killion studied history at UC Santa Cruz and received a Ph.D. in African History from Stanford. He has worked as an administrator in a medical relief program in Sudan and taught at Bowdoin College and San Francisco State University. He has shown work since the mid 1970s and has exhibited around the world, from the British Museum in London and La Galerie Blanche in Carnac, France to the Davis Art Center and the Ansel Adams Gallery in California.