This week, or very nearly last week, having been too busy to post a blog entry until now, was very interesting. I am back in residency tomorrow, but still thinking about what was talked about last Tuesday.
One of the level 7 students came into the print room and she opened discussion about the use of digital in art, and the perceived validity of laser cut against hand crafted lino prints. We looked at my Transition piece as I have now titled it, and Glen the technician opened a book to look at Barthelemy Toguo and Christoph Loos who both display the print and the means of production i.e the plate.
And also we looked at some printing using laser cutting and some print work that was digital in appearance. Interesting discussion I thought, and the work of those printmakers interesting too. In the case of my work, though, I have not made the plate into a sculptural form as those printmakers had. In my piece the plate is also part of the work, but is still essentially image. The plate is also an found object, as such, although altered; and an image in its form as it preceded the stage of modification to become a printing plate. I like it the way round. It has an existence in the real world outside of imagery but it is denied that independent existence as it is interdependently merged physically with the printed element. I suppose in some way I am holding on to some aspects of a practice using collage techniques and material, but it is also the copy/original relation, and it is about allegory and it is about language and also about issues of a technological age.
I remember discussing Paul Virilio’s writings about the technological age with Dan Hayes at a symposium last year at the University of Suffolk. He takes a different route in his work to explore the digital and technology but those ideas still influence me. Language is also very much an influence, and I came across a new reference from a piece of writing coincidently relating to one of my tutors at art school, wherein J.R.Sumner wrote about a literary aspect that is part of the nature of the human mind. The reference argues from a paradigm in cognitive science and psychology, and resonates because it discusses ‘the gap’ between the incompleteness in writing, stories and art imagery, and real experiences and meaning. And particularly when images are made to deliberately leave the viewer with an incompleteness and the viewer has to engage in filling in the gaps. I think I will research the references a bit more, as they do follow my train of thoughts.
Any more prep for tomorrow.
I have been testing and preparing examples using lino and monotype techniques. I made these ready for January as I have been asked to deliver a printmaking course at the Ipswich Institute nearby for the spring term.
I think I will experiment more with the use of lino printing for myself, as I have not created lino prints with transparent layers. The students the other week were using extender base to do this with Dale the tutor. I have used extender with etching and I have used transparent layers in my screen printing, but not with lino. I think perhaps it is that I had always considered block printing as being very solid. I think I will revise my thoughts about that.
A residency for me seems to provide the best vehicle for indulging in your practice, not just the set aside time and facilities, but interactions with others as ideas proliferate. Robin Warnes the fine art tutor discussed my work with me a couple of weeks ago and I now have to research Tracy Emin, as I am curious, after he mentioned her in relation to one of the pieces I was making. I am not sure why, especially as I thought others did her printmaking for her, er, not even sure about that now. Ralph Overil is an interesting printmaker who I met while I was running the AA2A residencies at Chelmsford College, and I often wondered how it would be to see things from the other side rather than a teaching perspective. And now I am the resident artist, it does look quite different. So many new ideas and developments emerging as I work. I have ideas to bring print and painting together, as well as trying new techniques previously mentioned but I guess there are more ideas than time.
This week was quiet in the print room as it seems tutorials were happening all round, and also road closures due to weather delaying students. But there was some activity, and one student was interested in my work and talked for a while before moving on to see the technician about her printmaking requirements.
I thought in this blog I would include a sketchbook reference, as I have been working through a sketchbook during the residency. Ideas keep coming but during this residency it seems that this has accelerated considerably. I now have several secondary print series on the go. The main series now has a screen print only version with a slight change in emphasis these are stand alone pieces, rather than the main collage series which is to be essentially an installation. I also have begun development of a ‘Devices’ series and a combination set which takes on other ideas relating to my older Tracing the Everyday ideas. I spent much of this week organising and making preparations for the new and main series to be printed next week. I will also start a series called ‘Reportage’ that works exclusively with transparent veils, as in the sketchbook pages images here. The mock up works and the reporters notebook page stencil prints effectively in the combination print pictured here with the yellow patch. More later and the Simulacrum print series will be even larger by next week. It seems to me that residencies effectively push your work on, I should have done this years ago, well if I could have spent less time teaching fulltime.
While making the record print of David Bowie using etching techniques I also made tests on the back using different tools. Surprisingly I found that the label would not come off, and I also found that the printed text on the label created variations that registered the words. So I thought photographs have a shiny texture, and as I already use them in my work, I would try printing with a photograph. This is the result, a print using the collage a technique. It worded so I am working on a series combining the original ie collage cut-out with the copy print.
The original and copy are together here and the original destroyed somewhat by the process. A bit like the first prints.
The main body of work for the residency has begun. Over the past two weeks I have prepared and developed some of the prints for a large installation of prints. The process is very fluid as I cut out aspects of the found images, scan some of them to screen print, stick some to paper ready for printing, and then in the print room the individual pieces are still not resolved. I still have to make those final decisions and modify the prepared images further to make the narrative work, and then again the narrative also shifts and changes. When I say narrative, you guessed it, it is not a fixed narrative, or ‘story’, in that sense. It is really and series of discursive steps and diversions using ‘the copy’ to keep shifting the referents in the original images. By original I mean the source images which are only ever partial and cannot be considered as conclusive images in themselves. They may intimate associations and the original form and context from which they came, but as the repetition increases the process of deferment increases. I am working on another batch to follow and those will also work into some of the first batch of prints.
Well as an explanation, I think that was definitely discursive enough. I will get back to theory at a later point, and leave it there for now. All will become apparent in completion.
This week was good as Dale Devereux Barker was in the print room with some level 4 students teaching them printmaking as part of their year one introduction modules for the degree course. So it was a busy room, and I got some interest with some students making enquiries about my work and ideas. There was some interesting and well made work created by the students.