Saturday, 28 March 2015

March ends - an update

It has been a hectic end to the month.  Lots of activity for Frack Free Kirby Misperton and Ryedale, I finished the piece for "Democracy Rocks" and helped to set up the exhibition, which opened yesterday. Plus a good experience at a local printers, where I took a series of paintings that work as one piece, to be printed in a short edition of each, with a view to selling some.  I am actually preparing ahead for North Yorkshire Open Studios!

My piece for "Democracy Rocks", The Mud and the Sheen*, is a first for me, because I have never made an installation of my own work before.  I am pleased with the results, although, against my better judgement I have  scattered too much preparatory work at its base, losing the cleanness of where the loops of paper almost touch the floor.  If I ever install it again, elsewhere, I will avoid that.  In the end, it was installed near a back corner of the gallery, simply because it was easier to suspend the work from there and it looks good; the added height of the gallery ceiling enabled me to increase the height of the work too, making it even more relevant to the meaning of the piece.  I have really enjoyed the challenge of creating a two dimensional print and presenting it in three dimensions.

*p194, Jackson Pollock's Abstraction, Timothy J Clark, in Reconstructing Modernism, Art in New York, Paris and Montreal, 1945-1964.  Ed: Serge Guilbaut, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England.

The private view was quite well attended, there has been a lot of media interest too.  I hate posing for photographs, why is it that newspaper photographers always seem to work to such awful, cliche ridden ideas of what makes a good photograph?  It makes me laugh and shudder at the awful banality of it!

I enjoyed being part of the team that set up this extraordinary exhibition that includes work by young people and professional artists.  I can thoroughly recommend a visit and when you do, don't forget to post a vote for your favourite pieces and write on a post it note about what democracy means to you, using the polling booth.  You might even like to have a go at drumming on one of the decorated ballot boxes!


Artist Ian Mitchell  recommended Norton Print and Frame  to me as the best people to approach about having some prints made of a series of paintings I made a couple of years ago. I continue to be fascinated by ideas that explore the passage of time.  Called Seasons, the piece comprises 12 paintings, 30 x 40 cm, acrylic on paper. An experimental series, each piece started out exactly the same, or as near as I could get it, given that they are paintings.  


Each successive piece was added to in the same way until I reached the final, twelfth painting.  The paintings each represent one month of a year and are a result of careful observation of colour and light levels.  NP&F have produced some superb photographs of each painting and I am really looking forward to going back in a few days to look at the proofs before we go ahead and produce a short edition of ten of each painting.  I plan to have two full sets available, and the rest can be sold separately.  The point of this exercise, because I would not as a rule produce prints of my paintings, is that I cannot sell any individual paintings from the originals as they collectively comprise one piece of work.  


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Sunday, 15 March 2015

Ballot box battle

I have been battling with finding time to complete this work.  I keep being distracted by the anti fracking campaign in this area where I live; we are on the front line of the fracking attack here and it is very, very worrying.  I am trying hard to keep positive by doing positive things to help the cause, but it is extremely draining on my mental strength, which is not conducive to my creative production!

However: I am excited!

I have no idea how long the piece actually is; several people have asked me, so I suppose I should attempt to measure it before it is completed because I expect more people will ask the same question.  It is not a piece of purist printmaking; rather the visual version of a room filled with talk, the talk all being about the nature and importance of democracy and voting. As I have progressed with the piece, I have found more and more information that relates to the subject, which there is not really room to include, but which I will include in some of the single pieces I am going to make, and the artists' books.  It would actually be quite nice to do some paintings too, to see how the ideas translate into richly surfaced pieces.

I worked on the piece again for a day last week; there were gaps that I wanted to address; some gaps are OK; causing "pauses" in the conversation but other areas were crying out for more coverage.  I am very pleased with the Thermofax screens; they are so easy to use and made reproducing my hand drawn tally blocks and the printed quotes very easy.

The mix of mono, collograph, lino and screen print within the piece works too; the balance between the hand drawn aspects of the mono printing and the rest is particularly interesting to me.  

This shot above shows the ballot box work and some experiments I have made on wider pieces of paper, I love the translucency of the Chinese paper and its strength.
At one stage, because the work is so long and I was trying to identify the areas that needed more work, I was printing with the work on my left in folds on the floor while on the right, it was held up and draped on my wooden clothes airer.  I had to be very careful not to trip up! See for yourself:

Thanks to all of you who take the time to read this and as always, I welcome your comments.

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