So the first print run of the Devices series is done (pictured here all in green). Now I am back in the print room again, some of the work in progress is either complete or very near. The other piece pictured here is part of the secondary series based on an idea called reportage. This links also with the other series based on this theme, with the working title ‘News Stand’. This series may change title as it develops but the concept is well defined. I have started printing the News Stand series, and I have stacks of stencils at the ready.

In fact all the ideas are well defined now, and those that are going to be developed are decided. This blog has reflected the residency, with a great deal of ideas and experimenting but focus has taken over now. I have met with Carol and Vicky to discuss arrangements for an exhibition and a clear concept for the for it has taken shape. More on the exhibition details soon when everything Is confirmed.


The sketchbook never empties, not all ideas manage to get out.  But some will.  This page further explores the connections and/or disparities between sign and index.  An odd statement perhaps, as we think of them as different; hence the different names.

So after stating the obvious and at the same time the incongruence.   Let me explain.  It seems to me that if associations can be attached or attributed to both signs and index, then both could be used interchangeably or perhaps interdependently.  The Simulacrum project is moving towards a combination of photo screen and cut masking.  Some part finished pieces.

I recall reading about the work of Ian McKeever and his use of the combination of photographs along with painting.  He talked about the use of different information. I guess something from that earlier influence has continued to be of interest to me as a concept, though redefined and very different work.  Collage and print feather strongly in the Simulacrum project.

Combinations of different kinds are coming up all the time in my ideas.  Ideas about hybrid combinations of print and painting have been with me for a while now? But I think I have enough for this project without taking those ideas any further. It may be a while yet to my return to paint.

From those early days as a student I also remember some good advise from my tutor about using a sketchbook.  He said leave something to resolve in the artwork, don’t resolve everything in the book.  My sketchbooks are still quite fractured with snippets of ideas, tests and reflections, even though there is a gradual progression of clarity.  The ‘News-stand’ (working title) newspaper image pictured here is a mock-up that will need developing when i start printing again. I have several pieces of work in progress at the moment awaiting resolve and final decisions when I return to the print room.

I have been reflecting back also because I come across Italo Calvino’s Memos for the next millennium again, which I first came across at art school.  Always interested in how language and representation works. Calvino talked about Quickness as a trait he valued in literature, defined as a limiting of description to allow the reader to engage in making up aspects of the narrative.  That seems still in my thoughts as I build up the allegories in the collage prints.  He talked about limited description along with an object that was a protagonist.  That word sparks my imagination.  . . . Hmm.  Another project perhaps.

Protagonist is a word used in discussion by a friend at a recent exhibition opening.  That of Robert Priseman, the exhibition now on at the Waterfront Gallery, preceding my exhibition. He has made some very interesting work about a series of shootings, which are remarkably approachable.  Is this case the protagonist is perpetrator.  This was a coincidence as was right in the middle of thinking about Calvino’s Quickness in relation to the work on show as this painter limits what he depicts from the subject matter.  I had the chance to talk to the artist about how he developed the pictures, and he said that they were pieced together from many fragments to complete the images.

Interesting, and very different to my work, but it is really interesting to see how  representation works and engages the viewer. And how it works differently in different work with different content and ideas.  Priseman takes the subject reduces information but keeps the content intact.  The Simulacrum is about an allegory that alters and/or ‘misreads’ the original content.

I seem to be stepping in from point to point here, rather like the Simulacrum series as each successive piece links to the previous.

That’s enough for now.


While working on the Simulacrum series which uses a collage fragment and a printed element derived from other fragments, I altered the surfaces of some pieces. I experimented with aging effects for two reasons. Firstly because some of the surfaces were very shiny and took the print inks less well. Secondly because after testing (pictured here, 5 devises and abrasions image) I realised that the effects of breaking the shiny surface created yet another connotation to add to the references in the prints. The series is almost complete now.

The ‘Devices’ series is the next series to expand. I will complete the first print run (the green image pictured in the last blog post and here in the device and note-page sketchbook) when I get back to the residency. In the meantime I have developed a second version with extra devices to alter the significations, and also use colour in different also to associate signs with context. I worked out a test layering on Photoshop with the reporters note-page inverted to negative instead of the positive register of the first Devices piece. This Devices series extends the ideas I had for a series called ‘Reportage’, which relates more closely to newspapers, and is now more complex. This new method more closely follows my starting point in the residency, where ‘the trace of the real or everyday’ is important. In this version the method of production uses the note-page directly as the mask in the screen-printing. But it also uses light and colour in a different way, not just because the first one was just in green, but because the suggestion of depth is more intense with a central white area. I think it creates a different engagement.

So the ideas are becoming more elaborate and refined, and also as the second sketchbook page shows the ideas are expanding faster than I can produce. I am thinking now about alternatives for printmaking where other found surfaces or objects may be used for printing on. I will probably need more time to take that route, and it would perhaps move too far away from the residency project concept. I have worked up more ideas for the Reportage series and developed a complementary series with the working title ‘Front Page’ or ‘newsstand’. This is well underway with compositions tested, though not pictured here and work will start next week on the real thing.


Semester one complete and much work done too. And I am not stopping just because I have no access until January. There is sketchbook work I want to do, reflecting on practice, and I can prepare new work stencils etc.

Students came in during the final week inviting me to see their work on display in another room ready for assessment tutorials. I talked to a few students about their work and found much of interest. So I guess I am settled in and established here in the residency, a very enjoyable new venture out of the print room. I also met Vicky Cull who is leading the fine art now and building the program a bit more for next semester. I was asked to give a talk, probably in week 5, along with providing tutorials and talk of an exhibition. I will look forward to the talk and tutorials, because after teaching in further education for so long on BTEC and Foundation courses, it will be interesting to find out more about what the students at this level. So far students visiting the print room have been very thoughtful about their work. I like the level of engagement students at this level have. Fine art and graphic students have discussed their work with me in the print room. Many students from the graphics course talked to me in the print room last Tuesday about their work, as they were completing printing for final pieces. Too many to mention, but the student making a set of cards to promote fungi made some interesting designs, another took painkillers for a subject; really, some unlikely but interesting ideas.

My Simulacrum Series is building up well, though I did have problems with one of the screens. Must sort that problem out.

I have uploaded a double image here of work in progress and a single image completing one of them. I have several ‘secondary’ series now with no collage fragments all in blue and my first ‘Devices’ print using the reporters notebook stencil printed in transparent green, is nearly done. I think that I can rework that idea further and make a series from that as well. The Devices stencil worked also in another application with the photo-screen newspaper image which fixes the signification more than the main series of simulacrum.

I will reflect in my sketchbook and clarify ideas over the next couple of weeks, and upload that, while also doing prep work for January. I have the original print installation series on track and can envision the way it will work in exhibition, and I can see how the secondary series of prints will relate to each other and the main series in exhibition. I think I will start designing layouts quite soon as the concepts are established and I think that a dialogue can be woven between each different series.


Progress is good.  The Simalcrum series is about halfway through now. And interaction with students is good.

Earlier this week one of the students I had met earlier came in to discuss our attendance patterns and use of the vacuum screen printing press.  And talked about paper as well as our work. Apparently there is a paper very like fabriano but not the same price, . . . Awaiting more information. . . .’

Another student, Jan or Jenny, I missed the name so apologies there.  Enjoyed a discussion around the similarities in both our work.  Both using found images and allegory.  She explained her use of the Last Supper as a base for allegory. So it will be interesting to see where she goes with it as she develops her ideas, working out how it will read differently with different audiences, especially after hearing all the background to it.

There is a definite a change in interactions now.  I think they are used to having me around and I feel more included and it seems more open, with students finding me and sharing more.  So the residency is more interactive than parallel as it was at the start. Good progress in all aspects.

As for allegory, my interest stems from a use of found images and materials in my degree with a very direct connection and signification to subject matter, to a very different approach by the time I studied for my MA.  I started to define, or is that realise? Maybe a bit of both; what that interest is while researching for writing my thesis.  I never really wrote it, though, although tutors said that I must have toiled over it.  But well, all I did is typed up my notes, printed and handed in.  Teaching commitments got in the way, so I never really defined and argued the points in my discourse.  Who knows if it would have been significant. But there is something I find significant about allegory that didn’t seem to have been written amongst the theory I read.  I read Eco, Barthes, Derrida and other theorists and key things like intertextuality, which came up in relation to photographic images and writing.  What seemed unresolved was whether we could say that the original story or references on allegory could either remain intact or if they could be altered or left behind.  In metaphor the signifier may not be the signified and in agreement in language we all assign the meaning through contexts which somehow locate that meaning.  So can we think of allegory in a similar way?  Something in the general signification brings the context into play and we can work with that and steer the meaning somewhere else.  In the simulacrum series I am working with ideas about the copy, but also steering the photographic references.

Enough for now.