On 7th April 2019 I opened my lovely new studio to the public.
It was a great day to meet new people, to chat over a cuppa and to talk all thing ART!
Thank you to everyone who dropped by and who made this a very enjoyable day.
Here are some photos of the day. Please contact me if you’d like to visit or if you’d like to know a bit more about what I do and what I offer as non-toxic Printmaking Courses.
Once politics was, if not simple then at least understandable. There were parties on the left and parties on the right, and they would stay roughly at either end of the spectrum, fluctuating into the centre and out again; but you knew, and so did they, which side of the centre they belonged. Then you had the parties in the centre that had to fight off incursions into its space from one side or the other. Tribal loyalties saw to it that you would usually follow your family’s lead when placing your X on the polling card. But now conviction politicians are gone. Candidates promise anything to get votes. Elected politicians appease reactionary popular opinion; unpalatable stories are called fake news. No one wants to listen to elite groups who, they argue, consider themselves superior to everyone else.
It feels like everyone is playing by different rules; change has spread right across classes, gender and the country. Austerity is hitting some communities badly whilst others continue much as they ever have; buying necessities like foreign holidays, fast cars and super wide televisions. The government continues to cut funding for further education and the NHS but can find enough to commit to Trident and nuclear weapons. Many young people want to know what the point in cramming their heads with knowledge is when experts are no longer valued or guaranteed work once they are crammed with arcane facts.
The financial crisis caused by the banks hit everyone except the banks themselves, who are still getting richer. Terrorist fanatics are killing indiscriminately across Europe and the need to gather information means that personal liberties are being invaded.
It seems obvious to me that now is the time to have a serious discussion about how our society works and what our priorities should be to prevent the very poor getting poorer and the very rich getting, well anything they want. Should we look to the Nordic countries and raise Taxes so that our schools and hospitals work? Should we know what proportion of our taxes go to what? And should the disgustingly rich pay at a higher rate of Tax than the ‘Just about Managing’ people who feel they have been left behind and forgotten?
In other words, do we want politicians discussing things that don’t really matter? Do we want a higher moral and honest tone to the debates in the House of Commons – with no booing or braying? Or shall we forever be talking about what we can screw out of our neighbours just to leave them all alone for a while? And seriously, do any of us really think that this is a brave little country hitting way above it’s weight against larger, calculating, unscrupulous and less plucky competitors?
I have been a contemporary artist/printmaker for over twenty years with a studio in Tring, Hertfordshire. My work is driven by political and cultural concerns covering issues from Maternal/Female Subjectivity, Eating Dysmorphia and Memory to the Civil War in Syria; it is therefore conceptual and photographic in influence.
An interest in and knowledge of the Polymer Print process is the transformative tool which enables me to create visually strong imagery. Non toxic polymer printmaking is perfect for layering the documentary authenticity of photography with the versatility of Relief and Intaglio processes and its use of line, sumptuous texture and colour.
My Blog https://cyberslog.wordpress.com/ permits comment on recent exhibitions and other artist’s work and Art Theory, and this Blog is where I share some insights and images of my own practice and enjoy the feedback and support.
I have written about Art theory especially Feminism & Psychoanalysis in Art and have been published in the peer reviewed Journal of Visual Arts Practice. I have had technical essays published in Printmaking Today and I devised, found funding for and organised a Community Arts project called ‘A Day in the Life of Grovehill’ in Hemel Hempstead and would like to do more community work.
I open my studio to the public annually and this year I am opening in June as part of the Bucks Open Studios. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and teach Non Toxic Polymer Printmaking in schools and colleges and in my studio. I constantly look for new opportunities and collaborations to generate artworks and to find a new audience. I am interested in new ideas and technologies and welcome exciting challenges.
I have never been all that bothered with colour. As a printmaker I have been obsessed with achieving good, opaque and solid blacks – get two printmakers together and they’ll spend most of their time discussing the relative values of the black parts of their works.
But recently a funny thing has happened to me, I’ve been getting really excited about COLOUR! I have no explanation for this, am I trying to cheer myself up, or am I expressing some kind of inner harmony? Who knows, but I’m enjoying the fun of discovering pleasing and unusual colour combinations.
I have posted a few here for you to see, I hope you find them pleasing.
Cast Crystal Sculpture
15cms x 19cms
Influenced by the Easter Island heads, this rather more domestic scaled piece exploits the ability of glass to trap elements and free them within the illusion of space made solid.
Glass is transparent, you can see through it, it almost isn’t there. However this negative quality is juxtaposed by its actual materiality – you can feel it, it can be incredibly strong, it prevents access and it represents a barrier. Because you can see the surface, the interior and what lies beyond, glass has the potential to represent the discrepancy between the verifyable shell of our bodies and the private reality of the person we really are.
If we could see inside our heads, what would we see? I would like to think that our ideas and personalities would float like these little bubbles of air, swirling in good intentions and good will towards the similar well-meaning minds that surround it.
“Every photograph is a certificate of presence. This certificate is the new embarrassment which its invention has introduced into the family of images.
…..The important thing is that the photograph possesses an evidential force, and that it testimony bears not on the object but on time. From a phenomenological viewpoint, in the Photograph, the power of authentication exceeds the power of representation.” Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida, pp87 – 89
This work explores the photograph’s connection to time and to memory; and it seeks to show how this aspect of the medium makes it both fascinating and potentially uncanny.
A photograph authenticates a person’s existence, because, as Roland Barthes says, it is “the certificate of presence.” But it also denotes absence. We have our memories but back them up with the evidential force of the photograph portrait. We value the images of our departed relatives; they are the evidence that once that person existed, and like our memory even photographs fade. They fade slowly, and infuriatingly sometimes, only the general outline of that person, like a shadow, like a ghost, like a faulty memory is all we have left.
These twelve Polymer Etchings are derived from one photograph of my grandmother taken in the 1930’s when she was my age; I was not there when they were taken and she is not here now. They describe through sequentially diminishing imagery, the process of time on memory loss or dementia.
OBSCURE / REVEAL I
Double-Plate Polymer Etching
280 x 385 mm
“Whatever Photography grants to vision and whatever its manner, a photograph is always invisible: it is not it that we see.”
Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes
This is the first of a new body of work that aims to explore the power of the partially obscured, or inadequately seen, photographic portrait. In this print a powerful abstract swathe of ink threatens the image with invisibility and doing so adds potency to the impassive face.
We live in a world in which the art of memory seems almost obsolete, having been outsourced to communications technology, through which perfect, high-resolution images and information are endlessly uploaded and reproduced. These contemporary methods of digital record-keeping let me to wonder what impact this would have on our perception of ourselves, and the loss of meaning on our sensibilities. And what affect the proliferation of so many perfect representations of the human face would have on the appreciation of old and unclear photographic souvenirs, and whether their very fragility by contrast would confer some mystery and power on these fragments.
This triggered a new direction in my practice and an exploration into the impact of partly obscured portraits. Francis Bacon stated that his portraiture sought to “Deform into the Truth” and in a similar way these prints aim to reveal by obscuring the unique nature and moment when this image was fixed for all time.