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.
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.
PART TWO – PLACES
Last year I completed a commission for The Falcon Hotel in Rutland. It’s a very old 16th century coaching inn situated in the centre of the historical market town of Uppingham, just four miles from the shores of Rutland Water in the heart of the natural splendours of Rutland.
The owners had some very old photographs of the Inn through many of its incarnations which were in a bad condition. He was interested and proud of the history of the building and wanted to preserve some of its history and celebrate it on the walls of the Hotel.
This project required a lot of renovation work using Photoshop software and took a lot of time to restore the picture, often pixel by pixel. As you will see from the original photos many had deteriorated or had been folded or stored badly; and some were just not up to the correct quality for my photo-etching technique. Below are some of the many stages needed to improve the image (eleven changes in total).
A first meeting was held at the Hotel and the changes were approved. I could then go ahead and create my plates.
The photographs were printed onto OHP film in the right size, black & white and with good contrast, sometimes it was necessary to posterise the images using a Photoshop Filter.
The acetates were positioned in close contact with the Solar Plates and exposed to ultra violet light which were then developed and light hardened. Once they were dry the edges and corners were bevelled so as not to cut the paper when passing through the printing press.
Each plate was then inked-up with oil-based Intaglio printing ink and passed through the press with the dampened 300 gsm Cotton Rag paper. Once through the press the paper was stored flat under pressure in order to dry. A final visit was arranged for me to present the owner with the finished prints which now hang in the hotel entrance.
The framed works displayed in The Falcon Hotel