Skip to main content

Printmaking again

After I moved studios last year, I spent most of 2013 working on a stop-motion animation that combines printmaking, sculpture, and narrative. This year I've been making 2-d work again, using images derived from the film, or remembered from it. So there are layered fragments of maps, buildings, machinery, boxers (my grandfather was a bare knuckle boxer, and that is one of the themes of the film). I'm also trying the same material in printmaking, like these drypoints:



Technical note: I'm using extremely thin pieces of copper that I got from a building supplies shop, which means that you have to print with extreme pressure on the press. This probably means that the plates will wear out even more quickly than using thicker plates. That's the trade off between price and quality, of course.

Memories of the mining town where I grew up form the basis of the film, and hence this work. The image of the winding wheel comes up a lot -- that's the mechanism that lowers and raises the cages in the mine shafts. I've tried the wheelhouse image in a linocut, too, or to be more precise, an etched linoleum print:


This is a technique where you paint an image on the surface of the lino with stop-out, then coat the block in caustic soda. The caustic soda burns the exposed area of the lino and leaves a relief surface that looks very loose and free, in contrast to the direct blocky image that results from cutting the block. The print above was helped along by advice from a printmaker in Scotland called Aine Scannell. You can check out this link to her blog for a short introduction to the technique.

I like trying the same images out in different techniques as a way of seeing whether a different mark produces a better realization of the idea of traces that emerge from memory.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Visit to the Studio of Connie Noyes

An artist’s studio, it has been said, is half science laboratory and half Aladdin’s cave.

I was reminded of this when I visited the studio of Chicago artist Connie Noyes recently, on the third floor of a grand brick factory building that once manufactured Ford Model Ts. As soon as the steel doors swung open, Noyes guided me on a pathway that led between old and new paintings concealed in bubble-wrap and leaning against walls, tables laden with the recycled and cast-off materials that she uses in her current work, and works in progress standing against other walls, reclining on other tables, or lying on the floor, amid pools of wet and dried resin that she pours in cascades over her materials.

We talked a lot about process. Whether in a series of works incorporating enlarged digital photos, pigment, resin, and hilariously gaudy frames, or in a piece that cocoons hundreds of peanut shells in a bright gold layer, Noyes spoke about finding her way by working with the materials. The size and…

Brancusi in Plastic

Artist Mary Ellen Croteau is showing these columns made from recycled plastic cartons and lids in the window of the Columbia College bookstore on Michigan Avenue. They are a playful homage to Brancusi's "Endless Columns", with a serious environmental message for our times:

Mary Ellen also runs a wonderful experimental art gallery in a window space in west Chicago, called Art on Armitage. I will be exhibiting a mixed media piece there during August 2012.

A List of Every Drink in Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises"

I first read Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel "The Sun Also Rises" when I was a teenager, and immediately fell in love with it. For the last couple of years, I have had the incredible privilege of teaching a class based around Hemingway in Paris -- while living and teaching in Paris itself, close to the Boulevard du Montparnasse, where most of the action of the novel's first half takes place.

Of the many things that one notices about the book, the colossal amount of drinking is something that stands out. These people didn't just drink like fish: they drank like whales, as if the ocean they swam in was alcohol and they had set themselves the task of drinking the seas of the world dry of it. During my read-through of the book before class started last year, I tried to underline every mention of drink in the book. And now, purely in the interests of science, I am listing the entire menu of booze mentioned directly by name. Some preliminary observations:
Most of this is…