(b.1959) born in New Bedford, MA, lives in Pikeville
La Frontera, 2010 (detail)
woodcut print #2/17, 36 x 66 inches (unframed), 2015.65.19
In La Frontera (or the Border), Saftel uses 33 colors to create a bright and colorful impression. La Frontera references the border between Mexico and the U.S. based on Saftel’s experience and is further implied by the subtle shift in ground color mid-way through the print indicating the American side on the right and the left highlighting Mexico. The wood blocks created for this work were carefully printed on paper by Saftel and crew in P’atzcuaro, Mexico. In 1999 Saftel was awarded the Individual Artist Fellowship from the Tennessee Arts Commission. Then, in 2000 Saftel’s work was exhibited in the Tennessee Arts Commission Gallery. Saftel’s work is in the collections of the Ashville Art Museum, Blackberry Farm in Walland, Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Huntsville Museum of Art, Knoxville Museum of Art, Nashville International Airport, Orlando City Hall, Tennessee State Museum, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville, and in the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
In this wooden panel painting, Saftel creates a colorful layered environment of painted imagery and salvaged objects. His work is the result of combining techniques such as carving, embedding, stenciling, staining, and brushing. In this work, the words “Look Around” are carved at the top center and geographical locations are carved across the surface including the Himalayas, Jerusalem, California, Montana, and Switzerland among others. International postage stamps have been attached to the surface.
I wanted to talk about what we all have in common and how the border is an invisible division separating two different cultures, each with its own beauty, tragedy, history, and politics. – Saftel