Carving the Floors

Scheduled for demolition this May, the old Brunswick High School hosted its final class last month. A group of 12 Bowdoin College students taking Advanced Printmaking were the last to venture into its deserted hallways and abandoned classrooms. The objective: to carve and print the wooden floors of 2 classrooms within 20 hours. Artist Andrea Sulzer joined the students and Professor Anna Hepler for this ambitious undertaking. Together Hepler and Sulzer tackled one classroom floor, while the students worked in the classroom next door. Roughly 20’x30’ each, the classroom floors presented vast and uncharted canvases. The first order of business was to agree on and draw out a plan -- a challenging collaborative exercise for the 12 students. Then came the technical issues of printing on such a huge scale -- carving the hard and heavily varnished maple floors required muscles and power tools, and the air soon became clouded with sawdust. Finally, with only 5 hrs remaining, the floors had to be swept clean and vacuumed for printing. Using brayers, the artists rolled black ink onto the floor, laid thin Kozo paper overtop, and burnished the backside of the paper with spoons and barens to capture the image. Afterwards each length of paper was pulled back revealing a print of the design underneath. The resulting two gigantic prints will go on display at SPACE, along with video and photo documentation of the project’s vigorous and experimental process.

April 3, 2009
May 23, 2009
United States