Monday, 4 January 2010

Two exhibitions in September 2009

In September I exhibited large scale etching and various versions of the large scale collagraph at the Rodd, Sidney Nolan Trust, Presteigne and also at Dudley Art Gallery as part of the Rock and Fossil Festival.

Reflecting on the work produced, I was overall happy with it.
  • It was a great opportunity to work collaboratively on very large scale work with other people.
  • It gave me the chance to develop etching on aluminium with copper suphate further. (I hadn't worked with this since doing a course with Freidhart Kiekeben some years ago). The speed of the etch and the way that you can achieve a tone without the need for separate aquatint was very interesting.
Both of these are points I hope to develop further in my own work and also with my students.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Long 3-panel print

Each panel of the print and then the whole print on the floor, drying. I can't get back far enough from it to take a good photograph of the whole print at the moment. It is printed on paper which is 35" wide and 93" long.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Link to Nick Pearson's poem

Nick and I discussed how words might change over time, how they might break up or metamorphose into something completely different like rocks do. This initial discussion influenced the concept of Nick's poem ‘Word Search.’ In writing it he also had in mind the 19th century geologist Roderick Murchison who frequented the Dudley area and gave lectures on his theories to packed audiences in the limestone caves. Nick was also aware that I planned to use a large roller to print my work.

WORD SEARCH by Nick Pearson

I buried dictionaries in beds of lime,
that was my single most greatest experiment.
I sent all the editions of their time under -
Longmans, Chambers, Collins, the OED -
none of them spared, no nod of favour
to popular sellers, plain English hallmarks,
puffed up versions from foremost authorities.
I bulldozered a vast lake of billions
and then, because I am a patient man,
waited through millennia as one on one,
ripple bed fellows lying in the layers,
they rubbed each other up, text to text.
Through long eras of decay meanings mulched,
words wallowed in the thickness of their weight,
ditched to mud-fudge or stood fossil-firm.

This word was a smiler, liked meetings,
the fun of the network; but knew its place.
These two shared a job, wore eachother’s clothes,
fetched and carried where some proved lazy.
But collaborators and negotiators apart,
much of what you see at this lexical face
represents the survival of the spiniest,
a clear fact I knew my methods would prove.
Tap deep and they will offer themselves up:
here is one from a weak and awkward group,
one squeezed so tight it shone above the rest -
and this here is one that fought, held its ground,
a word-stone between rocks and a hard place.

My image

My image shows rock strata. More recent layers are obviously at the top and include a buried book and 'lost' letters; plant material, a can, netting, manmade objects. Subsequent layers show differently textures rock. The lower ones include fossils including a trilobite, an ammonite and traces of crinoids.

Layers continue to form with new debris and new layers are created, things are crushed, lost or changed and only traces remain. This is rather like the printing process too. Recycled pieces of debris are glued to some board. Ink is applied to the surface and when pressure is applied some of it transfers to the paper. Some details show clearly and others don't and it's not possible to print exactly the same image twice - each time it is unique.

"Steamroller printmaking" at the Rodd, Sidney Nolan Trust, Presteigne

I made 4 printing plates at home, using a range of materials to create texture including: grit, pollyfilla, tile grout, couscous, rice, rosemary, thyme, netting, wood glue and pva. First I joined my 4 collagraph plates together and then applied ink to the surface. I placed it all on the ground in the barn and put paper on it, covering the whole thing with some carpet underlay.

Anthony Plant ran over it on his roller. ( I did question the use of the word "steam roller" since there was no steam. He kindly offered to boil a kettle for me if I wished!) Anthony, Liza and Pam assisted in peeling back the paper and getting it onto the wall. The sheer scale of the task involves good team work and my only misfortune was sitting on somebody else's inked up plate by mistake.

This was the first of a number of proofs until I got a stronger print which I plan to exhibit at the Rodd in September.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Planning Steam Roller printing next week

I'm planning to use 4 pieces of mount board as my support and correspondence with Mike Clements who runs the Steam Roller Project at the Sidney Nolan Trust has confirmed that I'm on the right lines.

I've drawn out possible shapes and have considered various ways of suggesting textured rock strata and now just need to get on and do it and see what happens.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Mixing up the mordant and thinking about language

While mixing up the mordant I was thinking about the changes of language over time - the layers of language and words lost. Nick Pearson's email about layers of words and words lost, new words invented.... compressed words.

When studying Linguistics at Uni some years ago I remember that I looked at the stuff about Old English replacing a Celtish language, then Middle English, the major vowel shift/change where they shortened, then Modern English... Words were lost, new words were imported from other languages, the words for animals and meat got separated beef and cow, pig and pork....

Could the words from different times be trapped or compressed in the rock.. Which words should I choose? Beowulf, Chaucer, Shakespeare? Then later more modern words including very recent ones like "dongle"?

Phonetics was also interesting.. listening to people making sounds and watching large, live pics of people pronouncing words and writing down the phonetic transcription... but that's a different track.

I need to try something out...