Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I Shipped my Ship

I am in a group show at the Hyde Park Art Center starting next week. It's part of a new program of experimental, month-long exhibitions at this venerable Chicago art institution, on the south side quite close to the University of Chicago. Artist and curator Kathryn Fimreite has put together a show called The Pram Endeavor, for which she invited artists to make a small boat that will act as a metaphor for carrying an experience or a memory.Until now I had never heard the word 'pram' to mean 'boat', but a quick trip to the dictionary shows that it's a medieval English word meaning a flat bottomed boat with a squared-off bow. You learn something new all the time.

I finished my piece today and delivered it to Kathryn's studio. My contribution is called "Funeral Barque for My Grandfather.":


The boat/pram is a piece of heavyweight printmaking paper on which I printed a selection of the images I have been using for my film and works on panel during the last year: images relating to my coal miner grandfather, maps of the mining areas where he worked, references to chimneys and smoke. The face is my grandfather in his coffin, from a drawing that I did in my diary thirty years ago, the night before he was buried:


I reinforced the edges with some folded and cut pieces of offcut prints (if I'd had more time to work on this, I might have placed oars across these. I guess that would make them gunnels, or something):


There's a small accordion book on the inside of the boat, with a few lines of text adapted from something I made about five years ago. It says: "My grandfather, who became a miner at fourteen, said to me once: There'll always be a job for you here in the mines if you want one."

Total size: 17" high x 14" wide x 28" long. 

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