Over the last months I have been working quietly away at a series of prints derived from a worship dance video that I found on youtube. I discovered that the beautiful and athletic dancer, Tashara Gavin-Moorehead, was living in California. I messaged her to ask permission to use stills from the video in my work. She generously agreed.
In the video, she is dancing to a song sung by Whitney Houston, I love the lord. The music is soulful and full of emotion, as is the dance. I selected stills which drew out and highlighted this emotional intensity. I emailed her the stills I had chosen to use, to get her approval before going ahead with my plate making.
I spent hours on my computer, capturing particular moments, then isolating the figure by converting the background into amorphous shapes and shadows. I decided to work on steel to take advantage of and play up the grainy imagery. I developed four images first, printed bit maps on drafting film, then booked sessions at london print studio to turn the images into photo etching plates. I finished etching the plates at my own studio. Once the plates were trimmed up I experimented with various ways of inking them up, finally settling on a very loose and painterly method giving the appearance of a water colour wash. I printed them on heavy somerset velvet paper (400 gsm warm white, satin)
and tore the edges down for each print to the plate edge.
I then chose four further images and gradually made the photo etching plates for these works, and resolved the final prints at the printing stage. Each work is titled with a Japanese word expressing emotion.
Naku (cry, sing)
Kushin (diligence, pain)
Visited Studio 3 at the School of Art, University of Kent, Canterbury Campus today for Capturing Movement an exhibition which transforms contemporary dance into still art forms. I am showing my prints and artist’s book alongside Belinda Whiting’s atmospheric photographs, Blek le Rat’s graffiti style screen prints, Helen Dryden’s visceral paintings, Mary Fletcher’s sublime drawings and collages, Rachelle Allen-Sherwood’s exciting responses to live dance performances in ink, John Brown’s dynamic bronzes and Martha Todd’s delicate wax sculptures. With thanks to the MA Curators at the University of Kent.
My artist’s book, Towards the Light, is now complete. I have made two of the 7 editions, and also constructed an archival box and a slip case to house the books when not being displayed. I’ve found the whole process enjoyable and engrossing and quite a change from my usual work. I’m pleased to have learned new skills and processes which could lead to some other book related or maybe some installation projects. Who knows?
I’ve reached an exciting stage of constructing my artist’s book from the printed pages. It’s a process which requires dexterity and patience – assembling the pages with delicate hinges made from japanese paper and starch paste. No I’m not ironing the book – I’m using the iron as a weight.
printing the pages on my rochat press
pages ready for assembly
hinging the pages with japanese paper strips
I finished proofing a new Juliet print recently. This one is called ‘Juliet, From my Lips’ It’s an original photo etching, in an edition of 20. It’s the next in the series of Shakespeare prints, measuring 42 x 52 cm and printed from two copper plates.
My new Shakespeare Prints were shown at the Bankside Gallery in July in an Exhibition, Shakespeare: A Celebration. If you missed the show you can see a short film about it by clicking the link below. The film was made by Right Angle.
Film of Exhibition – Shakespeare: A Celebration
2016 commemorates 400 years since the death of Shakespeare giving rise to a whole host of special exhibitions and events throughout the country. The Bankside Gallery will be showing an exhibition of Shakespeare inspired prints in June made by members of the RE, (the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers).
This subject appeals to me and I decided at the beginning of the year to make a series of prints using deaf actors or models performing extracts of Shakespeare roles.
My first model was Phyllisha Johnson, a partially hearing lady who takes part in church worship, sometimes using BSL and SignDance. I asked Phyllisha to sign one of Portia’s speeches from the Merchant of Venice. Portia assumes the role of a lawyer’s apprentice to deliver this speech and dresses accordingly.
“The quality of mercy is not strain’d, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath; it is twice blest, It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes………’
I hired a tudor woman’s costume to photograph, to add to the image, to represent Portia’s hidden identity. I’ve had fun arranging the costume in various ways……..
and trying various ideas for incorporating all the different elements…………
Lincoln’s Usher Gallery is now showing Shifting Subjects, a film produced by the Abbey Walk Gallery, featuring interviews from the artists featured in the Shifting Subjects exhibition including Linda Ingham, Margaret Ashman and Wendy Elia. This is a trailer for the film…..
A Shifting Subjects conference took place in Leeds on the 20th October. I joined the audience to listen to speakers Wendy Elia on Self Portraiture by women from the Renaissance to the present; Dr. Alison Rowley, of the University of Huddersfield, on Four Portraits of Sarah Lucas as an Artist and Poppy Bowers, curator at the Whitechapel Gallery, on Sarah Lucas: Situation Absolute Beach Man Rubble. I feel privileged to be showing work alongside Wendy Elia, Sarah Lucas, Linda Ingham and Miranda Whall in the Shifting Subjects Exhibition, which is drawing to a close on Saturday. There are plans to bring the show to London early next year which is exciting news!
Contemporary Women Telling the self through the Visual Arts
3rd September – 31st October
Sarah Lucas | Miranda Whall | Wendy Elia
Margaret Ashman | Linda Ingham
The exhibition opens on the 2nd September at the Abbey Walk Gallery
A completed set of prints has gone to be professionally dry mounted for display in the exhibition. The film has been sent off too. Art writer Anna McNay has written a brilliant essay for the catalogue and interviewed the artists for a catalogue Q&A piece.