Cynthia Back

Mixed Media


Archived Work

Artist's Statement

My artwork celebrates landscape, using the media of prints, painting, and collage. 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.

Water, forests, and the ways in which they are being changed figure prominently in my artwork. My subject matter is a response to the environmental degradation I see and read about. At the same time I’m striving to convey my deep attachment to this natural environment; it’s ever-changing pattern, color, and shape. This tension between these oppositional forces is important in my work.

In my artmaking I stress recycling – older work, prints and paintings on paper, whether as substrates for collages or cut and torn, the images and objects chosen have symbolic and emotional content, reusing and valuing the past, the forgotten, the unsuccessful. Prints, combined with paint, become collages, cut for color, detail, and pattern.

My attraction to printmaking and collage comes from a fascination with the many ways I am able to play with images, determining the appropriate processes, juxtaposing shapes and colors, and changing the feel of my work by the aesthetic choices I make. I love the discipline of the reduction relief printmaking process and the surprises which come with each layering of color.

Selected Exhibitions

R E L I E F, Washington Printmakers Gallery, Washington, D.C.

Naturally: Woodcuts by Cynthia Back, Washington Printmakers Gallery, Washington, D.C.

Wind Challenge III, Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia, PA

Mixed Media, Pennswood Art Gallery, Newtown, PA

Collages y Grabados, La Galería de Pascal, Suchitoto, El Salvador

reSource, Fireside Gallery, Main Line Unitarian Church, Devon, PA

Solo Series, Abington Art Center, Abington, PA

WaterWorks: An Exploration in Print & Collage, Siren's Song Gallery, Greenport, NY

Natural Reservations: Observational Prints, Art Gallery, Villanova University, Villanova, PA

Sprawl, Fireside Gallery, Main Line Unitarian Church, Devon, PA

Sub-natural Layers: New Intaglio Prints, University City Arts League, Philadelphia, PA

Every Thing Under The Moon: Recent Intaglio Prints, Delaware Center for Contemporary Art satellite Member's Gallery at the Delaware Center for Horticulture, Wilmington, DE

Watershed, The Atrium Gallery, Chubb Group, Warren, NJ

Transformation: Paintings and Prints, Concordia College, Bronxville, NY


Transit Berlin, Roskilde Art Association, Roskilde, Denmark

Haugesund International Festival of Artistic Relief Printing , Haugesund Museum of Fine Art, Norway

Sweet Earth/Bitter Earth, Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, CA

Built/Broken, Schiltkamp Gallery, Traina Center for the Arts, Clark University, Worcester, MA

Big Ink, Martino Gallery, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Annapolis, MD

Mini Prints, Galleri Heike Arendt DK, Berlin, Germany

Climart, Cannery Galleries, Academy of Art, San Francisco, CA

Selections from Art in the Open, CFEVA, Philadelphia, PA

Process and Invention/Six Women Printmakers, Printed Image Gallery, Brandywine Workshop and Archives, Philadelphia, PA

Inside Out, Inliquid Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

The Garden of Earthly Delights, Central Booking, NYC

Plant Cure, Central Booking, NYC

Wetlands, Holt-Russell Gallery, Baker University, Baldwin City, KS

Reclaiming Earth, Jewett Gallery, San Francisco Library, San Francisco, CA

Personal Geographies: Cynthia Back and Rosemary Cooley, Washington Printmakers Gallery, Washington, DC

Mapping: Carte Blanche, Kentler International Drawing Space, Brooklyn, NY

Beyond Cold Polished Stones, 20/20 House, Lansdowne, PA, curated by Anthony Campuzano

One Billion Rising, Polk State College, Winter Haven, FL

René Carcan International Prize for Printmaking, Bibliotheca Wittockiana, Brussels, Belgium

The 7th KIWA Exhibition 2016, Kyoto International Print Assoc., Kyoto Municipal Museum, Kyoto, Japan

The Future: The Los Angeles Printmaking Society International Exchange Exhibition, SG Gallery, Scuola

Internazionale di Grafica, Venice, Italy

Industrial Philadelphia, Past and Present, The Atheneum, Philadelphia, PA

Interstate, Sarah Spurgeon Gallery, Central Washington University

River and Biota, Freyberger Gallery, Penn State Berks, Reading, PA

Dirt: Scientists, Artists and Writers Reflect on Soil and Our Environment, Collins Memorial Library, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA

EcoEditions, 23 Sandy Gallery, Portland, OR

Un/Natural Occurrences, Central Booking, New York, NY

Washington Printmakers, Museum of Printing History, Houston, TX

Open Doors, Forum Eugénio de Almeida, Évora, Portugal

Violence, Women’s Caucus for Art, SPP Galleries, Conshohocken, PA

Arts and Re-Creation, Penn Charter, Philadelphia, PA

Multiple Encounters 2, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi, India

The Print Booked, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, Ken Kirschman Artspace, New Orleans, LA

Re/Using Our Resources, Sandy Springs Museum, Sandy Springs, MD

Inside and Outside the Clamshell Box, The Gallery at Delaware County Community College, Media, PA

Abington Art Center at The William Penn Foundation, Philadelphia, PA

Art in the Open, City Hall and Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Mark: Remarque, The Free Library of Philadelphia and The Crane Building, Philadelphia, PA

Impressions: Exploring Printmaking in the 21st Century, Penn Charter, Fort Washington, PA

Human Book, Loring-Art Bookshop, Centro Civico Pati Llimona, Barcelona, Spain

Natural Histories, Central Booking, Brooklyn, NY

Intaglio a Go Go, The Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

Drawn to Washington, Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, Silver Spring, MD

Post-Petroleum: Envisioning the Future of Suburban Space in America, Sheppard Gallery, University of Nevada, Reno, NV

Art of the State: Pennsylvania 2008, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA

ArtBound: Book Design Past and Present, The Athenæum, Philadelphia, PA

Musings on Nature, The Northwest Artists Coalition, at Morris Arboretum, Philadelphia, PA

Sixty by Sixty, The Duke Gallery, Wallingford, PA

Environmental Distress, The Women's Caucus for Art at Redding Gallery, Wilmington, DE

Pink at Perkins: the Contradictory Character of a Complex Color, Perkins Center for the Arts, Moorestown, NJ

Singular Objects, The Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, NY

A Century of Creativity: The MacDowell Colony 1907-2007, Library of Congress, Washington, DC

The Natural World Unveiled, Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, Wynnewood, PA

The Library Show, The Artist’s Book Library, Proteus Gowanus, Brooklyn, NY

Fairview: The Strip, Time & Space Gallery, Hudson, NY

The Summer Exhibition, The Courthouse Gallery, The Ballinglen Centre, Ballycastle, Co. Mayo, Ireland

Multiple Encounters, Rajasthan Lalit Kala Akademy & Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur, India

Artists in Rural Ireland: American Artists at the Ballinglen Arts Foundation, Concord Art Association, Concord, MA

Of the Deep and the Shallows, Siren’s Song Gallery, Greenport, NY

Planes, Trains & Automobiles, Anchorage Museum of History and Art, Anchorage, AK

New York/Paris DIALOGUE Paris/New York, Atelier Lacouriere-Frelaut, Paris, France; The Center for Book Arts, New York, NY; Abrons Art Center, New York, NY; Long Island University, Brooklyn, NY

New Prints 2005/Spring, International Print Center New York, New York, NY

Printmaking: From Tamarind to 1026, Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

North American Print Biennial, 808 Gallery, Boston University, Boston, MA

Multiple Encounters, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi, India

In Print, Triangle Gallery, Sinclair Community College, Dayton, OH

Eire/Land, McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA

Witness and Response: September 11 Acquisitions at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC

Aisling Geal (Clear/Brilliant Vision), The Riverbank Arts Center, Newbridge, Co., Kildare, Ireland

29 Gravures New Yorkais a Paris, Galerie Delta, Paris, France

Graphic New York, Level 5 Gallery, Dundee, Scotland

A-Way to Ireland, McGowan Fine Art Inc., Concord, NH

Druckgrafik Aus New York, Galerie Station 3, Vienna, Austria


The Print Center, Philadelphia, PA
Washington Printmakers Gallery, Washington DC

Awards and Honors


Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation. Grant 

Residency, The Studios of Key West

Fellowship, Nordic Artists Centre Dale, Norway

Workspace Residency, Women’s Studio Workshop

Residency, Blue Mountain Center, NY

Stella Drabkin Memorial First Award, American Color Print Society

Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation Grant

Residency, Acadia National Park

Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation Grant

The Puffin Foundation Grant

Commissioned Print, University Print Club, Cleveland, OH

Residency, The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, Taos, NM

Residency, Foundacion Valparaiso, Mojacar, Spain

Residency, The Cill Rialaig Project, Co. Kerry, Ireland

Fellowship, The Ballinglen Arts Foundation Ltd., Co. Mayo, Ireland

The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Inc. Grant

Selected Collections

Bristol Myers Squibb Co., Princeton, NJ
British Airways, Boston, MA
British Airways, Charlotte, NC
Federal Reserve Bank, Philadelphia, PA
Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, Durham, NC
First Union Bank, Summit, NJ
The Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
The Library of Congress, Washington, DC
McGraw-Hill Publishing Co., New York, NY
The Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ
The Newark Public Library, Newark, NJ
The New York Public Library
Pennsylvania Savings Bank, Philadelphia, PA


1978 - 1979
St. Martin's School of Art, London, England

1976 - 1977
Wimbledon School of Art, London, England

1975 - 1978
Minneapolis College of Art and Design