Turbulent Flow

Lyell Castonguay
Turbulent Flow
Woodblock print
Image: 48″ x 24″, Paper: 52″ x 29″
Edition of 5
$2,500 unframed/$3,000 framed

Turbulent Flow began as a simple sketch. The sketch was enlarged and transferred onto a piece of plywood with carbon paper. India ink, ball-point pen, and sharpie helped refine the composition on the plate. Castonguay used Japanese hand chisels to carve away the drawing’s negative spaces. The tools widely vary in size: some carve hair-thin lines while other gouges remove large swaths of wood.

Each color layer was printed using a separate piece of plywood. First, a red to grey transition was printed for the background. Then the birds, mountains, and clouds were overprinted in brown. The plane was cut out of the design’s center and inked separately as a gradient. The biggest challenge was ensuring that separate blocks aligned when printed on an etching press. A special jig was used to position each woodblock before printing.

Turbulent Flow is a visual representation of the natural world attempting to adapt to modern human activity. A plane dwarfs the landscape blotting out a murmuration of birds. Castonguay renders the plane with minimal detail and at a three-quarter profile. As a result, the orientation of the plane can be viewed two different ways. The plane advances towards the viewer with the cockpit and wings preceding the tail or, conversely, the plane recedes into space with the tail and wings preceding the cockpit.