California in Relief

Richard Wagener
San Francisco, California: The Book Club of California, 2009

Working in the demanding medium of wood engraving, artist Richard Wagener has created a visual itinerary of his wanderings throughout California in his brilliant new work, California in Relief. Composed of thirty original prints and Wagener’s short prose pieces describing them, California in Relief begins and ends in Los Angeles, with stops in the San Jacinto Mountains, the Antelope Valley, Sonoma County and the Sierra Nevada. Like John Muir and Gary Snyder, Richard Wagener is a wanderer, explorer and observer of California, creating a poetry of place through both words and images, all born of actual experience.

Not since Paul Landacre mastered the aesthetic and technical challenges of wood engraving in the early twentieth-century has any California artist achieved prominence in the medium until Richard Wagener began to explore it in the 1980s. His previously published illustrated books have won wide acclaim for their ingenuity and beauty, and The Book Club of California is pleased to be the publisher of this magnificent work. Wagener’s images of nature–his stately Sierra trees, stark peaks and rocky crags–and his urban architectural monuments–the Pantages Theater and the Griffith Observatory–combine to make this work a deeply personal record of distinctive California locations. Wagener’s technical skill is such that the images shimmer, jewel-like, concise renditions in black and white of sunlight and shadow, landscape and sky.

Renowned letterpress printer Peter Rutledge Koch designed, and produced the work, and Richard Wagener has printed the wood engravings himself. The edition is limited to 300 copies and each copy is signed and numbered by the artist.

Book; 88 pp.    7.75 x 12.5 inches   300 copies.      

Printer's proof copies $750.