The Land of Romance Series > Woodblocks

My current body of work responds to images used in print paraphernalia of the 1920’s-1950’s, including, among others, Norfolk and Western Railroad travel brochures promoting Virginia as “the land of romance, hospitality, and beauty”; other travel brochures carrying the slogan, “Carry Me Back to Old Virginia”; and Maxwell House Coffee ads. The original, idealized images that these advertisements featured are challenged and expanded in the black and white woodblock prints, perhaps showing a more accurate reality; research into many African American family trees can reveal multiple generations where children were born to slave women and fathered by slave owners.  Additionally, the series includes collages which are a fusion of the original woodblock prints. New narrative possibilities are explored and questions raised, often with no clear answer or story. While these are open to interpretation, my underlying criticism of that era of our nation’s history comes across in subtle, yet derisive ways. This history played a significant role in shaping America, both economically and socially, and has had a lasting impact on both individual families as well as America’s complex social fabric.

Black ink on carved woodblock by Kristin Powers Nowlin of figures in an interior space based on a Nunnally's Candy of the South ad from the 1920s.
Woodblock and ink
15" x 11"
2017
Black ink on carved woodblock by Kristin Powers Nowlin of figures in an interior space based on a cover of a recipe book for the Evaporated Milk Association from 1932.
Woodblock and ink
15" x 11"
2017
Black ink on carved Shina woodblock by Kristin Powers Nowlin based on an Old South Toiletries advertisement from the 1930s.
Woodblock and ink
15" x 11"
2015
Black ink on carved woodblock by Kristin Powers Nowlin of figures in a scene outside a plantation home based on an Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix ad from the 1950s.
Woodblock and ink
16" x 24"
2015
Black ink on carved woodblock by Kristin Powers Nowlin of figures in an interior space based on a Maxwell House Coffee ad from the 1920s.
Woodblock and ink
16" x 24"
2015
Black ink on carved woodblock by Kristin Powers Nowlin of figures in an interior space based on a Maxwell  House Coffee ad from the 1930s.
Woodblock and ink
16" x 24"
2014
Black ink on carved woodblock by Kristin Powers Nowlin of figures in a landscape based on a tourism brochure for Virginia from the 1960s.
Woodblock and ink
16" x 24"
2013