The New Year begins tomorrow. Presently I am involved in two strands of work, a series of etchings - a combination of drypoint and copper sulphate etch on aluminium plate which explore the passage of time and a sketchbook project Cover 2 Cover which is a group project by artists in West Berkshire.
In the prints time is explored in seconds and minutes as one observes the passage of a sunlight across the sitting room wall or the movement of a cloud scudding the sky and in years and centuries as one observes the patina of a surface, the marks laid down in history. The process still embraces the element of chance, the image is never carefully planned and then executed, it keeps changing through the making partly because I want the process of making to mirror the process of change and flux which stimulated me initially. The work is not an image of something, it is about something less tangible.
The sketchbook project is an opportunity to look at themes that others have decided, to try out new things , to avoid indulgence in my own habits. The sketchbooks are swapped every 2 weeks until 10 different artists have worked in each sketchbook on the ten different themes.
The work continues in two directions.
The Fragment and Chance Encounter work is visually coming together, exploring the ways in which we make meanings from the past and the pluralistic ways in which the past becomes re-interpreted.
Simultaneously Winter Poems a series of paintings made between September 2013 and February 2014 is leading to a series of monoprints that allude to natural processes and rhythms. Presently the prints which are woodcuts are developments from number 8 in the Winter Poem series.
As the year moves on those processes that developed during the fragments and chance encounters work become combined. There is a sense in which it is difficult to
maintain that the work is by chance once something which was accidentally encountered becomes an element that is actively sought. However by layering the different elements and maintaining an openness to what may or may not occur when different layers overlap a sense of exploration persists as does the possibility for surprise. I am using the ongoing changes in nature, specifically the trees in the garden as a starting point. The next step will be to see how the images that are occurring in the printing processes translate at a different scale in paint. I am going to use acrylic instead of oils.
Fragments have been a recurring theme over many years. Mostly they have been as metaphor, but more recently I have also been "picking up the pieces" in a more literal sense as an essential part of the working process. Small pieces of card are cut into irregular shapes which are variously scored or marked with different tools, or sometimes covered in textures. They are then inked up using either intaglio or relief methods of inking, sometimes both, and printed onto damp paper using a press. Because of the nature of the inking process each print is never exactly repeated.
The work is exploring the ways in which we make meaning. It doesn't have any answers, in a literal or philosophical sense. Context seems important, the space in which a fragment is viewed, whether it is a single fragment or one of many. The small collograph plates are variously placed within the limits of the paper.
Using a medium designed to connect things, in this case PVA glue, seemed to be a helpful process in which to explore visually notions of interconnectedness. The arrival of this process was by chance. The pocess continues to use random marks made with PVA onto a card plate to make embossed prints. Sometimes more deliberate marks made with tools are added too and the print is made by passing damp paper and the card plate under the press.
2014 Open Exhibition at Sherfield Gallery Jan/ Feb 27th
Hampshire Open Studios
Vessels - at Open Space Havant
20;20 Print Exchange
2013 Hampshire Open Studios
"Double Exposure" group exhibition at the Wool House, Southampton, August/September
"20:20" Print Exchange
"Imprint" group exhibition Artists of Red Hot Press at the D@art Centre, Hedge End - May 14th - 27th
2012 "20;20" Print Exchange
Hampshire Open Studios
" Forwords" at Arlington Arts
" Lost Star" at Red Hot Press, Southampton City Gallery and Links gallery, Winchester
Southampton Open (response to Titanic centenary) Southampton City
Anything may be a starting point for my work, a thought, a feeling a
response to something I have seen or a random mark I have made.
Often I set off with no destination in mind. Sometimes I may
have an idea where I am going, but the process throws up something
unexpected and I find myself taking a detour. Sometimes a work will take many months and at other times it is arrived at quite quickly. Nothing is ever fixed, our relationship to objects, people and places is constantly changing, I mostly paint, but I also use other media. Recently I have been printing and am enjoying the possibilities of mark-making that it offers.