USA


Finally finished my animation Shadow Boy and Shadow Girl

You can click on the link to view it here :  https://vimeo.com/208883758

This work has taken me a while to complete, as I started this series of prints two summers ago when visiting Crow’s Shadow Press in the USA.

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Crows’s Shadow Press is located on a Native American reservation in the eastern high desert of Oregon. This print studio is surrounded by rolling grassland and huge clouds. Distant views of the mountains are filtered a luminous blue with the atmosphere.

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The area feels ancient. In front of the studio there is a small graveyard: a scattering of graves on a grassy plot, complete with plastic flowers, windmills, flags and clothing, all in homage and reverence.

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If you were to sit there for a while, you would only hear the fluttering of flags, the crisp rustle of insects in the dry grass, and perhaps the gentle creak of your own muscles and breath.

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I started to imagine what it would be like to become and then not become again in this place. I started to make a series of prints of a boy and a girl, dressed in clothing from the 1850s, during the time when formal traditional clothing was being abandoned for western styles.

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In the animation, the boy and girl emerge from the darkness, defined and described by a sequence of white lines. Gradually they change shape and expression, they appear to get older, more serious, lighter and brighter, until eventually they are carved away completely.

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The images are from two reduction linocuts which I carved and printed in sequence, using only one type of mark: a carved horizontal line. I made 14 prints of each image, one set of prints for the boy and one for the girl. Then I created thousands of in-between frames in photoshop by deleting the frame in front to reveal the frame behind and saving it as a new image.

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It was difficult to continue to carve away at the figures until almost nothing was left, as it felt like destroying the individuals themselves. I learnt a lot with how much can be said with very minimal lines.

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In some respects, the progressive carving and whitening of the block could be read as a loose metaphor for the whitening of indigenous populations, as well as a reflection on blurring of the past…

Here it is again https://vimeo.com/208883758

I’m happy to say that the work will be displayed in China next week.

I have taken a selection of 160 frames at life size (each frame is 15 x 20 cm, and there are 80 frames from each sequence) and placed them side by side to show the working process. The inkjet prints of these frames are a rich and velvety black. As the prints do not exist any longer, because the blocks were entirely carved away, it is nice to bring the prints back to life again. The animation and the inkjet prints will be displayed alongside each other in Changsha Normal University in Hunan province, China, during April 2017.

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Pictures of the installation to follow!

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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 )

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!

I just got back from a trip to the US where I spent time with many lovely friends and hung out in the forests and fields, forgetting about the hustle of London life. It was exactly what I was longing for: no near-death misses on my bike, no sirens all night, no tube strikes and city-wide roadworks: hurrah, instead the sound of the sea from my cabin at night, and lots of time outdoors. So I thought I would bring out my sketchbook, something that was a constant companion until I suddenly stopped a few years ago. One drawing a day, I thought, and I didn’t quite make it, but here are some of them.
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ForestIMG_3891_e

Grass Mountain

IMG_3892_eGrass Mountain
IMG_3893_eView of the sand spit from Cascade headIMG_3894_eView of Cascade head from the sand spit

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Sitka Center for Arts and EcologyIMG_3895Bus to Seattle, with annoying stranger who leaned on my arm the whole trip… ;(IMG_3882_ePrint Zero print studio in Seattle, run by Brian LaneIMG_3878_e

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Brian in pub

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Great show about disguise at the Seattle Art MuseumIMG_3897_e

IMG_5921_eThe rolling fields near Weston, OrIMG_5922_eIMG_5923_eSt Andrew’s Mission graveyard
IMG_5924_eOh the greyhound bus, next to prophets and veteransIMG_5925_eMo Osorio in LAIMG_5926_eDaisy and BongoIMG_5927_eJack Doyle’s cameraIMG_5928_eCabin in the forest
IMG_5919_eColumbia River GorgeIMG_3900_e

Hestia and MekoIMG_3899_e

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Greyhound, againIMG_3884_eOf course, many memories were undrawable, unphotographable, just nice to experience.

I was also fortunate to spend a few days in the beautiful Crow’s Shadow Press in eastern Oregon, which I first visited almost 10 years ago. It was great to catch up with friends, and breathe in the desert air, even though it actually rained there in August for the first time in years. I started to make a series of reduction prints which I am still working on now: here is a sneak preview.

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Wouldn’t it be great if this were an animation??

Hmmmmmmmmm, maybe.

I’ve just come back from a March printmaking bonanza! Firstly, New York and the Metropolitan Art Museum, and then the Southern Graphics Conference in Tennessee. Here are some of the things I saw…

IMG_8824_eAt New York’s Center for Book Arts, I enjoyed John Jacobsmeyer’s show More Than Human, a sequence of over 80 wood engravings all cut from cross-sections of the same 40-year-old maple tree, representing an American Sign Language interpretation of the soliloquy in James Dickey’s poem Sheep Child.

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Noah Breuer and I then went to NYU to teach printmaking. Here are some of the students looking at my books.

IMG_8828_eAt the NY Metropolitan Art Museum print department I had a look at the anamorphic prints in their collection as research for my talk on Distortion.

IMG_8921_eI was completely stunned by this etching by Kathe Kollwitz and some small Posada prints which were there.IMG_8908_eKnoxville is located in Tennessee close to the Great Smoky Mountains; Dolly Wood, home of Dolly Parton; a building called the Sunsphere (that looks like a tomoato on a stick); and the University of Tennessee. I stayed in downtown Gay Street in a loft in the iconic Sterchi Apartment block, with the most amazing view.

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Printmaking madness was already obvious on the campus, with Crystal Wagner’s huge installation of prints that looked like a cascading dragon stretching over three floors and entering the gallery space itself.

IMG_9019_eThe print department was really spacious and boasted the largest (reportedly) American French Tool press in the USA, along with a wide array of printing stations ranging from litho at one end to screenprint and the other.

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I admired the beautiful prints by Karen Kunc and Tracy Templeton, who had visited the department.

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Off site shows were rich and varied, sadly I forgot to take photos of many favourites. However, here are a few good uns: local Yee Haw industries letterpress posters which were full of colour and wit…

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Happy printers from Drive by Press located in Striped Light letterpress studio giving a popular demo of T shirt printing…IMG_9249_eMiguel Aragon’s sobering series of victims of the Mexican border wars (drug cartels struggling for supremacy): laser-cut burnt residue embossed prints based on newspaper photographs….

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Wroclaw school of art graduate Agatha Gertchen’s incredible linocuts…IMG_9161_e_agathagertchen

And fellow Wroclaw printmaker Zuzanna Dyrda’s witty print intervention on the occasion of her mum’s marriage…IMG_9167_e_zuzannadyrda

Art Werger’s multiplate mezzzotint colour trial proofs… (honestly mad)IMG_9301_werger_e

IMG_9290_eUniversity of Tennessee graduate Jade Hoyer’s lithographic print installation…IMG_9220_e_jadehoyer

Select Serigraphics poster designs, combining retro elegance with op art and current bands…IMG_9237_e_selectserigraphics

Norwegian Tom Stian Kosmo’s mezzotint Surrender…IMG_9172_e_tomstiankosmo

Ericka Walker’s vintage style aphorisms…IMG_9333_e_erickawalker

Hannah Skoonberg’s delicate landscapes…IMG_9340_e_hannahskoonberg

Lauren Kussro’s mad seascape installation…IMG_9351_laurenkussro IMG_9350_laurenkussro

Emily Minnie’s printed wallpaper…IMG_9358_emilyminnie Liz Klimek’s printed and folded houses…IMG_9356_lizklimek

Intense subject matter and beautiful prints were paired with generous helpings of food at the private views… (We may be artists but we shall not starve!)

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In town, I also saw a few random print events such as this striped tent with painted beer cans…

IMG_9225_eLetterpress studio The Happy Envelope…

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Tatiana Potts wall installation…IMG_9085_e_tatianapotts

Interesting demos including electronic circuits…

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Brian Gonzales of Illegitimate Press, North Carolina showing off his thermographic ink printsIMG_9438_e_thermochromic

Apart from the displays of work, of which I’ve only photographed a small portion, there were some great talks. Sarah Suzuki of MOMA in NY gave a really lucid talk on the burring of lines between the printed useful object and the printed fine art singular object: illustrating her talk with artists such as Tabaimo who uses the printed aesthetic of Ukiyo-e as an essential flavour to her digitally scanned animations; Gert and Uwe Tobias, whose monumental jigsawed prints are unique rather than multiplied; Ellen Gallagher whose layouts were scanned, printed, scratched, added to painted on and reverted to sculptural form again; Daido Moriyama whose book Printing Show 2011 consists of a selection of digital images that viewers are able to sequence order and print themselves; Qiu Anxiong whose beautiful woodcuts show modern stealth bombers and genetically modified creatures.

Another favourite was Amze Emmon’s talk on print in the built environment, how we are surrounded by buildings which have hoardings, some of which describe the contents, some of which describe what will be there in future, and some of which, particularly in China, which have pictures of photoshopped idyllic landscapes far removed from the migrant worker housing that they shield.

IMG_4090_SGCI_eMy involvement in the lecture programme was on Friday 20th March when the panel I had coordinated gave their talks on the topic of Distortion. Noah Breuer and Julia Lillie talked about distorted materiality, in the mimicking of other techniques such as watercolour, engraving, stains and blood in printed format. John Jacobsmeyer talked about renaissance perspectival striving for an elusive truth, and how this delineates subject from object, which is confounded in contemporary approaches. I gave a survey on the topic of distortion, with our desire to see things and faces where there are none, tricks and marvels of machinery, and what happens when machines contribute a distorted view of the world. Erik Brunvand talked about sonic distortion and how to print with conductive ink to create speakers which were activated through electromagnetic signals. It was fascinating for me to hear what the others have been researching.

We jumped around afterwards making distorted poses to celebrate!!IMG_4097_SGCI_e