James Mundie

'Woman of Noa Noa'

(Click thumbnail to pop-up an enlargement - 43K)

Artist's comments ... "Woman of Noa Noa" was inspired by the works of Paul Gauguin, but particularly his 1899 painting "Tahitian Women with Mango Blossoms" now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Something of the exoticism of Gauguin's paintings has always appealed to me, and I suppose it was only a matter of time before his influence became apparent. This tribute seems even more appropriate considering Gauguin was a rather prolific woodblock printmaker.

'Noa Noa' - which allegedly means "Scented Island" - was actually the title of a manuscript Gauguin produced in Tahiti. The manuscript itself was filled with drawings, prints, photos and his musings on Tahiti's native customs and religion as well as his own experiences there - experiences which would certainly have seemed strange and exotic (perhaps even criminal) to his fellow Frenchmen at home.

For Gauguin, the woman of Tahiti were the Eves of a new Eden. In reality, Gauguin likely understood them no better than they could have understood the sickly Frenchman.

This image was carved from a plank of clear pine with a razor blade. The pattern behind the head (taken from traditional Tahitian batiks) was scratched into the board with a thin sewing needle fixed to a wooden handle. The print itself was printed on unbleached mulberry in oil-based relief ink with a wooden spoon. A complete description of my woodcut technique can be found in the Baren Encyclopedia.

James Mundie
Philadelphia USA