Detritus & The Urban Landscape
Essentially Decorative – landscapes from the notebook
January 27th 2008 Thoughts on works in progress
Thankfully the working title: Essentially Decorative – landscapes from the notebook, is a thing of the past. The works are progressing on 3 fronts-
Detritus, drypoints of broken and damaged organic shapes – tin cans, paper, bones, skulls, shells, rusty metal objects. Flying in the face of convention I am not editioning, each print from each plate is individual, printed on an individually prepared ground. The detritus series also includes intaglio and relief prints from found objects. These may be stand alone works or become the ground for the drypoint prints. I am enjoying working on the aluminium plates. The metal has a distinct grain and is very brittle – works well with the subject matter.
The Urban Landscape, has two aspects:
Photographs of geometric or desolate urban vignettes; walking to work every day, along the river and through the inner city gives me the opportunity to indulge my fascination with urban forms and juxtapositions, the ever present pocket-rocket slips out and grabs the shapes and tones and colours. Geometric contrasted against organic; reflection and distortion and shadow; poignant or ironic comments.
Composite landscape drawings – the rules of the game: I go for a walk, dogs clipped to my belt, I take no camera. When I see a shape or pattern or form or juxtaposition that attracts my attention I do not rationalise it, I sketch it taking as much time as the dogs have patience for. I return home with a sketch-book full of brief scribbled notes. These shapes provide the basis of composite ‘landscape’ images after the vein of ‘Vincent Landscape’; this is the initial root that I am trying to return to. I notice that I am getting more ‘twee’, into the technique and the magic rather than taking risky acts of faith. I also don’t want to loose track of collage – I have made some good collections, and I have two screens.
I envisage the big room having the big drawings and the photos – maybe an eye height band of photos on one wall and the drawings on the other three walls with free standing screens in the room [and a DVD?], very black and white with strong colour. And the two small rooms with the drypoints and monoprints – one or two of each on the walls and folders with all the variants on display.
I might add that writing this is a displacement activity for working on the Emu skull drypoint – why procrastinate when I am really excited by the work and by the indulgence and pleasure of my new etching press?
August 25th 2007 Thoughts on works in progress
As soon as The Red Door was hung I was already working on ideas for my next show. Probably I’d been working on the ideas for ages but could only allow myself to recoognise them, look and poke and prod, allow myself to get excited, and think and plan and imagine, once the Red Door was out of the way.
It is about going back to basics, going back to first principles – I have such a yen for this, it is a concealed path that I know is there – but of course one can never go back. It is about re-tracing a path but wit the added benefit/burden of the intervening experience. It is going back to first principles of landscapes but with the new techniques and with the experiences that I have gained in the intervening time. Perhaps it’s like a helix – you never quite retrace your path, but you are very close all the time.
The works will be composite landscapes, drawn primarily from rapid gestural sketches; a parallel series may be drawn from photographs; and yet another series incorporating more collage. Process will be collaging of shapes, shapes can be just detail they do not need to be recognisable, paper or other ground will be added as needed. The essential drawings will just be mixed media drawn in situ; the series drawn from photographs may include some of my own work, eg ink drawing, Chinese ink drawing, graphite drawing, collaged in, and will also use tissue paper and other benign collage elements; the collage work will use photographic techniques, found objects, and my 3rd party works such as etchings, incorporated into the work.
Although I keep trying to work small, I don’t. The works for Dialogue will be small. Maybe I will try to do some ‘pot boilers’ for this show, small saleable works, decorative, unchallenging, moderately cheap to frame…I want to do some more screens. I like the idea of ‘useable’ art, the paper that the screens are made of is lovely to work on, it is a more interesting format to work in – restricted dimensionally, yet pleasing dimensions and the triptych allusion is satisfying.