WG show invite june 2016My mum, a former nurse and midwife, is a constant source of amusement for the whole family, with her clear ideas on celebrity drugs (‘I just want a happy death’), keen interest in UKIP, and dirty humour when it comes to talking about the body. Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 13.40.52She has been a brilliant model to film over the past two years: a natural actress who loves having the camera listen to her radical views. Getting older and weaker has made her more inventive, more resilient and resourceful. Even though the journey to see my dad in the care home is a four hour return trip, and her vision and balance is ropey, she will still plug into her ipod, hop on the bus and enjoy the ride. Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 10.47.42She definitely has the balls. So, I made her a ring with a pair of balls which she gleefully refers to as Mao’s testicle ring (she misheard me when I said I’d made a ring with mouse testicles).  pendulous ring The above is a 3D file which was then printed on a 3D printer in wax. This was then attached to a ‘tree’ for casting in silver. Most of the rings I’ve been making over the past couple of years are hand-built and carved out of wax, so working with a 3D printed model is a new departure.IMG_1221IMG_1713 1As she has also survived breast cancer, I made her a breast ring too, which is meant to be worn with the nipple fitting snugly in the palm of the hand.IMG_2532_e_breast ringOnce I got into the idea of rings as trophies of desirable or missing body parts I couldn’t stop making them. Here is the bush ring. IMG_2503_bush ring_eThe film I made of my parents, Stoke Junkie, alongside more rings, books and prints will be displayed at the Royal College of Art Sculpture building, 15-25 Howie Street, Battersea, SW11 4AS from 26 June to 3 July. 12–8pm every day (apart from closed on 1 July). Drop me a line if you can make it! I’d love to show you around.

If you can’t make it, the film can be viewed at low res on vimeo here https://vimeo.com/170349107 (sorry the sound quality is not great)

And the trailer is here https://vimeo.com/168034112

There is a beautiful English Garden in Battersea Park.

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It’s just the right mix of wild and tamed plants, with a messy fountain and a pergola draped in wisteria.

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When you step through the gated wall, you can see tangled spearmint and trimmed box hedges which hide discrete benches for catching the sun.

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I wanted to make a print of this garden that would recreate this space.

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It’s a bit fictional as I had to draw it the right way round and join previously unconnected areas together in my linocut (which of course reverses everything).

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So you can see the fountain twice, once from close up and once from further away.

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Anyway it’s almost 4 metres long, and made of nine linocuts each 30 x 40 cm.

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I’d love to make this into an installation: like a space into which you could enter and listen to the bird song…

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The only problem is that the sky is missing, and the breeze…

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(Print number nine should be between the top row and bottom row of prints)

I’ve been obsessed with the word Orchis (the ancient Greek word for testicle) ever since I discovered that Orchids were named after the shape of their bulbs.

orchis books line_eIt amuses me that such a lavishly feminine flower comes from such a masculine shaped object. orchis one straight_eI’ve been working on this series of prints called Orchis for the past few months. This has led me onto making these works about sexuality, touch and desire, involving orchids and chrysanthemums, amongst other symbols.

orchis two solo_eI wanted to make images that convey the feeling of closeness to another body and communication through emotion.This is not from an external view, a photographic view, a logical view, but from feeling, the sensation of being inside one’s own skin: a rendition of position, muscle memory, and distortion around a point that radiates from the inner eye.

orchis three solo_eThe landscapes are internal ones that flow and merge from bodies into plants and flowers, jungle and folded fabric, between figures that are solid and those that seem to shimmer and disappear.

orchis four_solo_eI wanted to make black and white linocut prints with a binary code that could potentially appear blurry; lines that evoke sensation rather than logic.

orchis five_solo_eIt made sense to fold the prints into a book form, rather than display them as flat images on the wall, as I wanted the viewer to touch the books and alter the shape of the sculptural space that they make, and also rearrange the timelines and view the pages in any order.

orchis six solo_eThe books have a very simple accordion fold, such that each of the three panels that make up the linocut print come out towards the viewer. The unfolded print is about 92 cm long, which fits nicely within the arm span: a book that tests the limit of the arm stretch.

orchis seven_solo_eThe accordion fold makes a syncopated rhythm to the shape of the print, which can be read in any direction. The folds can be manipulated to hide sections and join parts of the image to distant areas.orchis eight solo_eWhile the prints are related, they are each a chapter within the series rather than one continuous story. Nine was the natural number that happened. When eight books are lined up in a row, they fit the length of the ninth book on display.orchis nine solo_e

I had fun deciding the colour for each book’s cover, which is made from fabric covered book board. The title Orchis and the number of the book are printed from a laser cut block which was made to the shape of my handwriting. I used these blocks to print acrylic size, and then applied gold leaf. orchis one_lowview_e

Having made them all, I’m now thinking of ways of displaying them such that they can be viewed as a whole, but read one at a time.

Orchis Series (2016)

Handcarved and printed linocut in three panels on lambeth cartridge, laser cut block and gold leaf text, leporello. Edition 30 (1-5 will be a complete set). 295 x 157 x 5mm

crow boy7-8_076The animation I was working on is finished! I put the sound track of carving wood onto the background. crow boy9-10_020

I changed the name of the animation to Shadow Boy as the work was started at Crow’s Shadow Press in eastern Oregon, and also because the boy is probably not native Crow.

crow boy10-11_002I learned a lot about how I work, as the animation involved hours of forensic reconstruction of my carving technique.

Here it is: vimeo.com/164877854

 

Shadow Boy animation will be shown in the brand new gallery space in the architectural-award winning Leicester Print workshop, alongside all the 10 linocut printed pages from the book, Swallow Span. The show is titled Light Line, and is a two person show with artist Angela Harding.

I chose the title Light Line as a description of what it is like to carve lino, as I was aware that Angela also works in this medium. Linocuts involve carving channels into lino to leave a light, or white line. We both work from dark to light, and use similar tools and materials. The phrase Light Line is a sort of pun on the phrase, Life Line, which for me is a comment on the act of creativity and expression, as well as in the more literal sense of the strong narrative elements of both of our work…

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Brush drawing for the dog who speaks Crow

I will be in Leicester giving a talk on my work on Thursday 14 July at 6.30 pm (doors open at 6pm, entry £5). All welcome!

50 St. George Street, Leicester, LE1 1QG. http://www.leicesterprintworkshop.com/

Light Line: Angela Harding and Wuon-Gean Ho

3 May – 31 July

(PS. Sometimes links don’t work, so here is the vimeo address on its own: vimeo.com/164877854 )

vimeo.com/161458407

crow boy _black to first frame038In Summer 2015 I went to Crows’ Shadow Press, eastern Oregon, and ended up making a series of 14 reduction prints of a fictional Native American boy and girl. crow boy1-2-017The reduction print process is one where you start off with a lino block which prints black because there are no holes in the surface. crow boy2to3_058As a mark is made with a gouge, that takes some of the block away, and the line which has been carved will print white, so the image becomes lighter and lighter until it disappears.crow boy3to4_110 The act of carving the face and body out of the darkness brought this boy to life but as I continued to carve I felt that I was destroying him with a literal and metaphorical whitening. crow boy3to4_010His face got sadder and sadder, and he looked older and more jaded until his eyes closed and he disappears.

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He still looks youthful and happy so far. Here is a test animation of the first part, made up of a few hundred frames. There are still thousands more to go!

Click on the link here vimeo.com/161458407

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It’s been interesting: reconstructing my carving technique in order to show how an image is pulled out of the darkness.

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I’d quite like to make the girl version as well…

In December last year I was invited to teach animation and artists’ books in Changsha Normal University, China. I had a great time! The students were enthusiastic and technically brilliant and we had a fun time working individually and collaboratively.

IMG_1561While I was in China I made a trip to Beijing, and visited a very strange theme park (whose name I’ve forgotten) full of examples of architecture from all over China. The house that took my fancy was called Fujian House: a reconstruction of the traditional architecture of the region, complete with elaborate brickwork, cool inner courtyards, dining room and beautiful snail antenna shaped roof details.

IMG_5469I know my great grandparents came from Fujian, so I started to imagine that I was visiting them, and that we were about to have some tea together. As I paced the courtyards I started to believe that they were just in the adjacent rooms.

IMG_1560So I made a book called Fujian House. The inner courtyard is replicated inside the book, so when you pull the book apart to form a central square, you can look around the courtyard. The brickwork is on the outside walls. When you half open the book there is a pregnant cat, lying on the ground, just relaxing.IMG_1574

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The book will be on display as part of the East London Printmakers Maker Library, launch event this Friday 1 April 2016, 6-9 pm.

More details here

https://www.facebook.com/events/1672251663046870/

Friday 1 April 6-9 pm.
East London Printmakers
19 Warburton Road, London, E8 3RT

Please come!

IMG_0797Print maven, Seattle-based Brian Lane, has organised a portfolio for the Southern Graphics Conference in my favourite city, Portland, Oregon, that runs from 30th March to 2 April 2016. IMG_0776Entitled Dreamscapes: The Ebb and Flow of Time and Possibility, this portfolio asked artists to address their subconscious, where past and future collide.IMG_0801My dreamscape print is a linocut which I made last year, showing a woman’s face partly hidden and transformed by the petals of a white chrysanthemum. The chrysanthemum flower is from Asia, and white ones signify grief and bereavement, traditionally placed on graves. IMG_0777Lined up, the women and the chrysanthemums appear like masked warriors, eyes shut contemplating the past and protected against the future. IMG_0802

Dreamscapes Portfolio statement reads

 ‘Our subconscious provides unfiltered access to the storage vault of memories, observations, feelings, and the day to day minutiae that we absorb without knowing.  This storage is virtually unlimited, yet in the waking state we have trouble accessing this surplus of info and rely on our known thoughts and experiences to guide us.  However, in the sleeping state our brain is trying to process everything, resulting in manifestations that bridge past, present, and future realities into a subconscious soup of abstracted yet cohesive possibilities. Often we can barely comprehend what these dreams mean or why certain people, places, or memories have surfaced after being suppressed for so long. Our dreams and nightmares become the vehicle that travels down the vast pathway of our imagination.’

Participants include

—————–

1. Brian Lane

2. Abraham Mong

3. Wuon Gean Ho

4. Kyle Huntress

5. Chris Dacre

6. Mare Blocker

7. Tyna Ontko

8. Chris Rollins

9. Travis Moorehead

10. Virginia Hungate Hawk

11. Amber Chiozza

12. Ashley Shumaker

13. Sean Smoot

14. Emma O’Leary

15. Nikki Barber

16. Ben Beres

17. Charlie Spitzack

18. Amy Oates

19. NateStottrupdd_09_pushing_print

Also at the SGCI conference, Marilyn Zornado and Barb Tetenbaum have coordinated a printmaking and animation showreel, which will be displayed on a video monitor in the atrium at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA), and at the Univ. of Oregon’s Grey Box Gallery. 33 of 55 submitted films were selected, spanning the entire range of print techniques and created by artists from all over the world. My linocut animation, Shift, which shows a ghostly dancing dress, will be there.

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Shift is on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTyCksf-cCo

Grey Box Gallery, 24 NW 1st Ave. Portland, OR  http://whitebox.uoregon.edu/

22 Mar – 8 Apr, private view on 31 Mar 5–7pm

I wish I could be hopping on a flight to lovely Portland tomorrow to join in the fun… If anyone goes, please take some pictures for me!

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