Thursday, December 2, 2010

Printing_Multi-plate and Artists Book_Final

The final images were photographed in a three hour setting, rain, sun, humidity, wind and a fair bit of moving around. The rice paper tore, but that didn't bother me - again, mishaps... The final object, is a rolled manuscript type object - wrapped in hessian sacking with ties and raffia - heavy and precious feeling - that's what I like the most about it...
I found my final prints resolved my idea of text and texture, reveal and conceal and the transformation of the mask. My final project developed directly from the project 4 resolved prints. For the final project, my intention was to keep with the book as an object, layered, and telling a story – as a recorded installation. The book tells a story, it reveals the plot as it moves from open, read, and closed. And the mask is used traditionally in a ceremony in which it is put on or constructed. Then, the wearer 'transcends'. Once the ritual is over, the celebration ends, and the mask is ceremoniously wrapped and placed in a sacred location, waiting for its next celebration. I hoped to construct these stories through the installation.

I wanted to present my prints simply and thoughtfully – using the hessian sacking as a book cover, the round spirals as the book spine and the pages as multi-plate experiments.

Through both exercises, and the presentation of the outcomes in this submission, I felt a sense of process progression and transformation of my initial concept. I began to realize through the outcomes that there is a greater degree of intuition involved with my work, which I hoped to convey. If found myself considering multiple outcomes, and ultimately trying out each avenue I thought might be representative of text and the book. The collagraphs for example, took longer than expected, because I found myself exploring more as I reached a point where a plate no longer 'worked'. I tried conventional techniques, and found this limited the sense of freedom I had felt with the initial monographs I had connected with.

Throughout the processes I experimented with various papers, techniques, textures, materials and concepts, to transform not only the concept of the mask, but how it could be used in a rhythmic, intuitive, 'transcendental' way which also reflected the artists and writers I'd been influenced by.

I researched artists who express an 'incidental' or intuitive approach to their work, such as Lucy Freud, Joseph Beuys, Marcel Duchamp, William Kentridge, Marlene Dumas and Henri Michaux. I investigated writers and poets that had a similar approach.

My approach to both exercises, was to to start with an image (often of a mask) or artists work, word, sentence etc. and never to preconceive the end result. This facilitated abstraction, and allowed an intuitive approach to the development of a piece. I digested all the visuals and writings I come into contact with, from history and 'now' and applied all this information to my workings.

With the scale and size of the works, I felt most comfortable with a larger size – most of the final prints being just under A3 in size. For the final project, I kept with the size but decided to explore works having borders – I began each print as a circle, which was then reflected in final circular shape of the installation – this to me was fitting for the theme of transformation being like a cycle of change, which again, is important to the mask and its 'life' cycle as a ceremonial artifact.

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I photographed over three hours, and did in such a way as to photograph the experience of the book – beginning, middle and end.

The masks became vital in the revealing and concealing of the pages, as I moved them from one shape to the next, and from one room to the next. Even the wrapping up of the pages after taking down the installation, felt like the removal of a mask after a ceremony, and the ending of a ritual.

Printing_Multi-plate and Artists Book_4

I chose a decayed industrial powerhouse because of it's urban texture and feeling. I have always wanted to photograph the location, and felt the book would be suitable as an installation in this area. There are two rooms which have been abandoned, but maintained by the Powerhouse, Brisbane. I did have to ask permission to photograph here, and so I had three hours, to go in, construct the installation, move it from the one room, to the next room, and then remove the installation, wrapping the pages in their book cover.

The concrete textures, with the wood and brick decay lend themselves well to the textures I have tried to print in my course. I enjoyed the wire around the concrete and wanted all these experiences to be in my book.

The location also has a painted circular formation in front of it, which always gives me a sense of 'urban ritual', which is why I incorporated it into the opening and closing of the book.

The weather was a big factor, I needed good weather to be able to shoot outdoors – but I was prepared to let the pages get wet in the process. I felt that any experience the pages had would be part of the overall process of the book.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Printing_Multi-plate and Artists Book_3

Method:The book as a layered construction, with images that are creations from more than one print medium theorizing the concept of TRANSFORMATION.

10 pages, double sided prints on rice paper, with different images viewable on either side. Some representation of the spine of the book, with binding, some form of representation of the cover.

Paper: rice paper from antique store
I've let the rice paper dictate what happens - I want to photograph the final book in a light environment, because the beauty of the pages is that they are light - and the sun just shines through these holes in the paper, or scratches that went too deep.
Spine: steel rings bought
Book covers: hessian sacking found at tip
Bindng: rings and raffia bought

One of the main things that have come out of this excercise so far, is that I've just allowed one idea to flow through to another - and through that I've not been afraid to make mistakes... I LOVE mistakes, they add that 'on purpose mishap', that just adds a little something to the piece. With using the rice paper (amongst other papers) I've realised I am enamoured with process more than form... I see everything as part of the overall concept of a page, so whatever happens, happens... and if it doesn't, I keep working it until it works... the multiplate printing is certainly very experimental, and I see this final excercise as a automated 'looseness' I didn't feel at the beginning of the course... too worried about what I was trying to say about the masks and not how I enjoyed their texture and process.

I remember listening to an interview with Marcel Duchamp. He spoke about incidentalism and nothing being a mistake... he talked about his piece The Large Glass where he said during a move, the glass was cracked, and there was uproar and everybody was very affected by it. He was asked how to fix it, should they remove the glass and he try to salvage what he could from this masterpiece? His response was basically that no, leave the glass as is, it was meant to be, so it had to be part of the 'story of the piece'.... I really like that. There's something very evolutionary about that.

Marcel Duchamp, The Large Glass. Oil on Glass, 1915-23

Printing_Multi-plates and Artist Book_2

The book - “A collection of sheets of paper, or similar material, blank, written, or printed, bound together; commonly, many folded and bound sheets containing continuous printing or writing.“ (

The Artists Book - “An artists book is a harmonious composite of design, form, content, and context with no one area dominating or responsible for the bulk of intended message(s). The overlapping of form (materials) and content (message) is quite often the major vehicle for creative expression.”

An artists' book is an artwork in a book format, or an artwork which has its origin in the form or concept of the book. The term was originally coined to describe books which had their origin in the conceptual art movement of the 1970s. The typical artist’s book today is a limited edition handmade book. The material ranges from lyrical and poetical works, books that take on a sculptural aspect to beautiful examples which blend the creativity of the artist with the technology of today’s computer age. Artists books come in all forms, shapes and sizes, and are made out of a variety of materials including wood, handmade paper and stone.” (

I wanted to present printed pages, using techniques I have experimented with, with a physical layered interpretation. Main areas of interest to me – print process, book installation process – in terms of construction of the book and deconstruction of the book, something that was intimate and had a valued physicality.

Today, I read everything on-line, I value the physical book, the one off book edition, one that tells a story on many levels, and encourages the reader to consider their environment as they read. The vessel of the book – the pages, the representation of the subject matter, the physicality of the book and the environment in which the book is read, was important to me.

The book installation as well as the materials and processes used were representative of the transformation ritual – the ritual of the mask.... the revealing and concealment of the mask, its ritual and the representation of who the mask transforms over time. As with the understanding of the written word as the story is revealed.

With this project, I hope to consolidate my printmaking skills developed thus far and allow room to appreciate the way different processes in print-media can be utilised to achieve different outcomes.

My process:

The Art of The book - the process, the construction and deconstruction, the revealing and concealing nature of the mask, in print.

Printing_Multi-plates and Artist Book_1

I'm finally seeing myself clear of the text dilemma. I came to a few conclusions about thext in art, and so, at some stage, I'd really like to explore further...

I have been researching artsts books, books with text, artists who use a form of intuitive method of 'arriving' at their works. One major influence in the text works I finished up with (towards the end) was Henri Michaux... artist, poet and philosopher... (see Research Methods in Phenomenological Aesthetics by Merle Flannery, University of Florida)

All of these artists use text in some form in their work (although Dumas and Kandinsky not as much). I was attracted to their free line, spontaneous form and in the case of Michaux, his poetry. I came to the conclusion, that writing became a part of their art, it didn't stand out as 'text', so I used this theme in my collagraphs.

When I finally starting being a lot more free with the text, and the idea of the collagraph, (like Peter Marcus and Julie Gough's work) I realised that it's about the relief, and getting the idea across. This research then influenced my ideas for the artists book.

I have continued the theme of transformation of the mask and I think this is a theme that lends itself well to the book.

Images in order:

Wassily Kandinsky
Marlene Dumas
Jean Debuffet

Collagraphs_Text, Multiples and Meaning_12

My resolved choices (favourites) are:
These prints are all A3 - large - without clearly defined borders and with text revealed (barely) through the texture... I experimented with masking and cutting of rice paper (image 3), and found rubbing away parts of the rice paper easier. On the first two, I tried powders, oils and masking fluids as well as rubbing the brayer onto selected parts of the plate to achieve a variation in print.

Masks, transformation of masks and texture/text in a form of reveal and conceal was my theme, and I was fairly satisfied with the outcomes.

Collagraphs_Text, Multiples and Meaning_11

Plate 11 - I reviewed plate 10 – the automated writing worked, but I was hoping to achieve a more chaotic, automated emotive text in the form of a mask, so I continued to glue aluminium foil with text onto the mask and the background.

1. and 2. on rice paper
3. - 5. heavyweight cartridge paper A3.

So, at the end of the excercise, I realised that I enjoyed the concealed text, rather than readable text - I enjoyed the process of experimenting with hints of words, ideas, and found that text may not be readable – it just needs to communicate an idea.

Collagraphs_Text, Multiples and Meaning_10

Plate 10 – I reviewed plate 9 – the automated writing worked, but I was hoping to achieve a more automated emotive text in the form of a mask, so I continued to glue aluminium foil with text onto the mask and the background.

1. print on brown paper
2. - 5. print on heavy weight non textured watercolour paper A3

I call Plates 10 and 11 'transformed plates'