Cynthia Back

Lansdowne, PA



Cynthia Back was born in St. Louis, Missouri and she currently resides in Portugal. Cynthia earned a BFA at Minneapolis College of Art and Design and a post-graduate certificate at St. Martin’s School of Art in London, England. Cynthia has exhibited widely both in the U.S. and internationally. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including grants from the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, Puffin Foundation, Pollock-Krasner Foundation; residencies and fellowships to The Studios at Key West,The Artists Centre Dale, Norway, The Women’s Studio Workshop, Blue Mountain Center, Acadia National Park, The Ballinglen Arts Foundation Ltd., Ireland, Fundacion Valparaiso, Spain, Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, The Cill Rialaig Project, Ireland, and The MacDowell Colony. Her work is included in private and corporate collections including The Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, the Newark Public Library, the Free Library of Philadelphia, The New-York Historical Society, and The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Artist’s statement

My artwork celebrates landscape. I am immersed in nature: from a window, walking in it, standing and listening to its sounds, watching shadows and colors dance across water and foliage. My sense of the natural world is life-affirming, healing, immersive, and contemplative. Design and abstract qualities enthuse. Inspiration is found in the excitement of seeing a familiar place take on a new aura, the changes of season and weather, and the scale of subject, from the immediate found at one’s feet to sweeping panoramas. Travel brings new vistas and habitat to explore and informs several series of prints. I recently moved to Portugal and the light, color, and landscape are my current focus.

Climate change, dying trees, invasive plants, and waterways are the most immediate parts of the landscape that I react to. Carving wood to portray wood, I make reduction prints and black and white woodcuts. I especially enjoy the layering and surprises that come with each new color. Redrawing the image over and over, reacting to the process, I stop only when there is nothing left to carve.

Key West #3, reduction woodcut, 10″ x 10″, 2019
Key West #4, reduction woodcut, 10″ x 10″, 2019
Studio View Wonderland, reduction woodcut, 16″ x 20″, 2020