Tag Archives: printmaking

the return of the relics

Tuesday 3 January 2012

broken relic fragment, mixed media art

[looking in, from the outside]

fragments relics, mixed media art

[stacked fragments]

fragments, relics, mixed media art

[wall fragments]

mixed media collagraph print on paper

[intaglio print]

intaglio collagraph print on paper

[intaglio print]

mixed media intaglio collagraph print- blind embossing

[blind embossing on paper]

[intaglio collagraph prints]

from the imperfect/circle project: liminal, on the brink, success, failure, beautiful, ugly, perfect, flawed, incomplete, whole, insignificant, valued, sacred, discarded, lost, saved, broken, mended. strange relics

the little canvas on the prairie

Saturday 26 February 2011

another episode in the creative space-time continuum conveniently afforded by my virtually travelling small iCons series… shown here in the now customary small canvas pose

prairie - abstract canvas - mixed media intaglio print
prairie 2011, 13cm x 13cm

i completed four more icon canvases last weekend, this here little prairie being just one of them, the others i might reveal in due course… the iCons are intaglio prints from handmade collagraph printing plates, individually hand-coloured and neatly collaged onto a box canvas…

prairie - abstract mixed media canvas - by artist jazz green

i am aware that the process of making traditional prints then fashioning the prints into more tactile objects (albeit still vaguely pictorial ones) seems also to embody a rural craft aesthetic… and perhaps that is my intention, that they cross that boundary..

prairie - contemporary abstract art on canvas - by artist jazz green

and where was this particular canvas headed? why the state of kansas in the usa – but i really should have taken a road map and my virtual reality sketchbook…

so, having landed somewhere deep in the kansas prairies, i then travelled back in time, to the dust bowl of the thirties, the association with the wizard of oz a most curious incidental connection in the process, a psychological, imaginary journey conversely inverted… here is another view of my own prairie, perhaps echoing wooden structures battered by a storm, wind-ravaged crops and dark dust clouds settling on a dim horizon…

prairie - small abstract intaglio print, collaged on canvas

[prairie 2011, 13cm x 13cm, intaglio collagraph on canvas]

my virtual travels slowly unravelled into a bit of an american history lesson… i have seen the wild grass prairies, the fields of shimmering gold and cotton plantations, the enslavement & racial tensions, the old farmsteads & migrant cabins, the depressing dust clouds that shadowed an ecological disaster of mankind’s making, dark skies and a slow exodus of people homeless & hungry, straight-as-a-die dust tracks, winds that whipped them westwards, eerie ghost towns & deserted gasoline stations, oil-pumps in skeletal silhouette, herds of roaming cattle, tumbledown tin barns & ranch houses, the rule of law and a sense of order, then a motorcade and a smoking gun, the burning flares of a rocket roaring through the ether, wild rodeo kicks & other cowboy tricks, the neon signs of roadside motels & all-you-can-eat diners serving supersize steaks… from kansas to oklahoma and then onwards to texas – it was all a bit of a whirlwind and i was thankful to be home at last…

prairie - concentric circles - abstract print

[prairie, digitally circularised]

i was very moved by some of the images which i viewed in the american library of congress archives, specifically those that related to the ‘dust bowl’ era – abandoned farmhouses half submerged by soil dunes, seeing only the very top branches of trees, and refugees camped out by the edges of barren fields. i wonder if matters have come full circle again, learning little about the precarious ecological balance of a planet that we want to call our home..

but history also provides a means of painting a prettier picture…

i used to like watching little house on the prairie as a child. i couldn’t remember where exactly it was set, but after a quick trip to the information portal wikipedia i discovered that walnut grove was/is in fact a real place in remote minnesota, but the tv series was filmed in california. i do remember it was loosely based on the true life story of laura ingalls-wilder (whose original series of books inspired the tv series), and i have since discovered she lived in many different places during those pioneering days of the late 1800s…

prairie abstract - intaglio print on canvas

[prairie 2011, 13cm x 13cm, intaglio print on canvas]

so, once transported back to the factual/fictional location of walnut grove, i began to imagine a humbler, simpler way of life in the little homestead surrounded by wild grass meadows and golden fields…

of sweet ma & pa ingalls and the too good daughters who looked quite unrelated, laura’s tears & ears and mary’s blonde hair & blindness, the prairie aprons & pretty dresses, the ribbons & bonnets, the handmade gifts from the heart, the hearth and the kitchen, baking sweet apple pie and the rattle of tin plates & pans, the wooden slat steps up to bed, the belief in the bible, the old reverend and the little white church on a sunday, the faithful horse & wagon, the toil of the land and the bounty of harvest, the bundles of school books and the kindly school teacher, mr olesen the storekeeper, his irascible wife and one very spoilt daughter…

i was also reminded of watching the walton’s (portraying a different era in american history), whose home, by british standards, seemed to be the size of a small hotel (with very thin walls, apparently)… can anyone imagine one hundred years from now watching with some rose-tinted fondness the stories of how we used to live..?

*prairie has ecological resonances with an earlier work in this iCons series, congo

on taking a walk around the square

Wednesday 16 February 2011

it has been twenty years since my first artworks using squares. it is quite a scary thought that i haven’t (except in drawing) ever deviated from this pictorial format – as mentioned many times the concept of akind of objectification and visual containment ensues. however, i have been quietly contemplating the square’s more rounded friend for a while now… in fact, the circle within a square is something quite universal, symbolic & spiritual…

as written about in a previous post last year, i started printing lots of irregular circles (or discs as i prefer to call them as circle seems too linear as a term), taking multiple intaglio prints from some old sanding discs – even deciding to break the circle into two mismatching halves…

studio wall march 2010- intaglio prints & monoprints - eroded circles
[studio wall, march 2010]

these initial concepts gently simmered the imagination were then put on hold while i actively pursued the lichens & moulds (which, it has to be said, are also not yet ‘done’ as a series). i figure that i am on a five year cycle when it comes to resolving any of my own work so quite how art students complete projects in a couple of months is anyone’s guess (clue: they use the internet)…

myriad spots & patterned speckles of mould, and the irregular, frilly-edged crustose lichens, as photographed here on the farm in early 2008 (a ‘found painting’ that i found just as impressive as a monet at the time because they covered the whole of one side of a trailer container), also inspired a series of circular etchings (thanks go to SW for cutting the circles out for me) and these were also supposed to be loosely based on patterns of lichens or moulds…

crustose lichens growing on a blue farmyard container - abstract painting photograph
[some lichens growing on a large blue farmyard container, march 2008]

however, what turned out to be the most instantly visually gratifying way of creating lots of circles (with no blood, sweat or tears, on a very frosty morning just before christmas) was to simply take some of my small, square paintings and just digitally circle-ulise them. half an hour on the computer, scissors and some masking tape was all that was needed to create an instant wall piece… seen here with some flat farmscape paintings for visual contrast.

art studio wall - cones - circles
[studio wall, december 2010]

now, it might at first seem that these concentric circles remind one of the work of kenneth noland, frank stella or even damien hirst’s spin paintings, but any twentieth century art reference (within my own realm of prior knowledge and understanding) would be a big, fat red herring – even if academics, critics, writers, artists & students focus on the importance of the ‘contextual reference’…

art studio wall - cones - circles
[studio wall, december 2010]

choosing to work from digital scans of my own square paintings, those with only earthy ochre, brown or grey hues (from the ‘chromatids’ series, my terminological appropriation, as in chroma and id), i was actually planning to travel much further back in history… it was just a matter of time.

bronze age shield
a bronze age shield, image © Trustees of the British Museum

i instantly want to interpret these experimental concentric forms (they are inkjet prints on paper) as shield-like, for i have been feeling very defensive of late (even the paper bowls with their interior space and rough outer surface hint at a sense of self protection), and i also felt that they are symbolic (obviously) of arming oneself, more so because i have made them slightly convex, curved and cone-like (some sculptural thoughts pondered upon a few years previously) – and now i have a personal army of protective shields on my wall! a sign perhaps of beginning to win the small battles of making art on my own terms… it is just a matter of time.

art studio wall - concentric cones - circles
[digital spin (or spun) paintings, studio wall, january 2010]

i amusingly thought they looked a little like madonna’s famous jean-paul gaultier outfit at first, or one could easily see the organic growth rings of trees, turned wood, old vinyl records or even art deco buttons – and there was also something quite oriental in their projected layout, like a wall of japanese parasols or chinese hats… but i wasn’t really happy with the geometric spin factor, i wanted something a little more organic, natural, irregular in surface and form (as with the sanding disc prints above)… it was one of those random things which i like to do on a computer and these demonstrate working through something, initial workings-out and concepts which are forever spinning around in my head, breaking away from the notion of making a conventional picture into making ‘things’ – it is just a matter of time…

the bird’s nests i found, hen’s eggs, collected pebbles & seashells, a large piece of striated agate given to me by a friend, coins, a tin of buttons, fossils, cellular structures or satelite images, looking through a lens or a magnifying glass, even the little glass ramekins that i mix paint in or a simple paint jug, have all found their way, however obliquely, into my personal visual vocabulary… so the circles, however they evolve as artworks, will have forged a new way around of seeing things square on… i am the cave artist who has just discovered the wonder of the wheel!

art studio - abstact painting found within a paint jug
[the inside of one of my plastic painting jugs]

so, the overall plan has been (for two or more years at least) to create a series of circular works to banish the square from my creative life, and it is another reason to be indecisive about which way up it should be viewed, because there is no ‘right way up’… the circle ‘project’ was beginning to take form before christmas but my hopes for it to be part of a regional group exhibition** have been thwarted… sometimes you really need an exhibition to get going with an art project…

so today i have been feeling very melancholy, on whether it is worth pursuing this art ‘project’ any further, even though i’ve already started the work for it, if there is no venue to show it, no audience to see it… tomorrow i will feel better and by the weekend i will have forgotten all about the small matter of a simple rejection…

this is probably why i started writing this blog, to stay focused and committed to my art even when i feel utterly dejected, on those dark days when there seems to be no definitive reason for making art… i quite wanted to blog a little about the ‘project’, the creation of the work leading up to the ‘exhibition’.. i will try to keep myself focused on it and hope that it does still have some creative purpose, that even though it currently looks to be a non-runner it will perhaps feature in a another exhibition… it is just a matter of time…

art studio - circular handmade paper
[a handmade paper circle – who just said pancakes*?]

while perusing yet another charity shop i came across a box of sewing things, and there within the jumble was a bundle of embroidery hoops – it was serendipity indeed, when thinking of making paper for my ‘circle’ project! i bought two of them and then promptly made a large stash of circular sheets of paper, because i am still fascinated by the edges of things, be they straight, precise, irregular or broken. i wanted the irregular deckle edge of the paper (naturally) and also the uneven surface, the unique character in the random slubs of paper fibres – i didn’t want these to look perfect. this handmade paper has a purpose if even if won’t explain its potential use right now… it will just be a matter of time – and time is perfectly symbolised by the universality of the circle…

*pancakes were traditionally a means to use up stored food prior to the abstinence of the period of lent in the christian calendar (this year it’s on the 8th of march, buy your maple syrup early)…

** i started writing this post in the new year, hoping that it would round off quite nicely with some related exhibition news…

*** i took the title of this post from the fictional characters in ‘eastenders’ who invariably take a walk around albert square when they have ‘issues’…