Lotte Schulz (1925 - )

Familia (1980)

Woodcut on paper flecked with gold
height: 33cm
width: 40cm

Donated by Lotte Schulz 1996


Like Acuático, Familia draws on subject matter taken from nature. The woodcut is from Schulz’s Tumita series, named after the flightless Great Rhea birds which it portrays. These ostrich-like birds are from the Chaco region of eastern Paraguay where they are respected for their speed and intelligence by indigenous peoples, who use their feathers in ritual clothing and adornments. The birds’ distinctive shapes are emphasized by the slender curving geometry to which they have been reduced, while the overlapping of forms evoke the tightness of the family unit. The wood’s texture is used to suggest both feathers and the physical nature of the print itself.

(Display caption from the exhibition Southern Press: Prints from Brazil, Paraguay and Chile, firstsite, 2011-2012)

Ian Dudley, 2011

During the 1960s Schulz worked on several series of engravings on themes from the natural world. Familia is from the Tumita series, and like Acuático from the series Piscis, also in ESCALA, shows a preoccupation with the simplification of natural forms to a point where they verge on abstraction. The subject of this series is the striking flightless Great Rhea (rhea Americana) of the Chaco region of eastern Paraguay. These large ostrich-like birds, now an endangered species, are respected by the indigenous peoples for their speed and intelligence, and their feathers are used in ritual clothing and adornments.

In this subtle print Schulz entwines the curvaceous bodies of the birds to create a tight-knit family unit: one bird, alert and watchful, masks the body of a second, pecking unconcernedly, and both are sheltered under the protective embrace of a much darker, even more simplified form. Schulz exploits the grains of wood block and gold-flecked Japanese paper to create a wide range of tones and textures suggesting the softness of the feathers as well as the actions of preening and pecking. For these woodcuts Schulz uses an entirely manual technique. She prints using the pressure and warmth of her hands and sometimes an agate burnishing tool, rather than a printing press.

Valerie Fraser, 2008

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