One of the perks of my position as Printmaking Technician at the University of Central Lancashire is that I get to be involved with so many interesting and unique projects. Ceramic Frankenstein, delivered by Erik Kok and Rudi Bastiaans from The AKI Academy of Art and Design was certainly out of the ordinary.
‘Ceramic Frankenstein is a student project that combines diverse techniques in several workshops. We visit one of our partner universities, in this case, the University of Central Lancashire. We form groups of students from different departments: Printmaking, Ceramics, and Photography etc. The workshop lasts for a week, which ends with a small presentation on a location that complements the artwork’ – Erik Kok
Outcome – An Exhibition of Three Postgraduate Projects
If you have followed my research for some time you will already know about the philosophical, neurological and political undercurrents that inspire and drive my practice. With the exhibition of Outcome coming to an end, it seems like an appropriate time to examine these ideas and being my Fellowship to a close.
A Thousand Plateaus and Soft Ground Etching
My Fellowship began with soft ground etching. After beginning to read the work of Deleuze and Guattari my first inclination was to begin to explore it physically. For me, the most intuitive way was through the medium of soft ground etching. Adapting the traditional method to suit my needs I allowed the allowed impure water to settle and oxidize on the plates. As the oxidization formed it created pathways that formed streams, which in turn informed the soft ground and eventual etch.
Over the past twelve months, I have been working at the University of Central Lancashire as an artist in residence on the Ph.D. Fellowship. Working with staff across a number of departments I have begun to develop a Ph.D. project and refine my practice-based research. The Fellowship has allowed me to develop my practice within an academic context and given me an opportunity to explore the diversity and sometimes restrictive nature of practice-based research. I am excited to be showing four new prints, ‘Intermezzo’ a screen print on Southbank Smooth and ‘Plateau Three’ a series of three new soft ground etchings on Somerset Satin.
The exhibition also includes artists from the Artlab Fellowship, which I was awarded, in 2010. The Artlab Fellowship offers a graduate or postgraduate one years worth of access to the Artlab Facilities, to further develop their printmaking practice. This year’s cohort is showing experimental installations and contemporary prints.
Artists from the AA2A scheme will be showing as part of the exhibition. It has been a great networking experience to work alongside artists with such different practices, methodologies and career paths to my own. I really hope to work and exhibit with these artists in the future.
A reoccurring theme in my practice is phenomenology – finding ways in which to articulate conscious experience.
This can seem to be an absurd and somewhat futile task, to create (often) two-dimensional works that capture or express a three-dimensional reality that exists in flux. For this reason, I avoid trying to creating a ‘fixed’ or static image that represents a place. The works are a gateway to a conversation about the place rather than an illustration of place.
My aim is therefore to create work that interacts with the environment in which it is presented. If the lighting changes, then so should the work, because after all, that is what ‘place’ is, as Maurice Merleau-Ponty says in the Phenomenology of Perception.
‘If I walk along a shore towards a ship which has run aground, and the funnel or masts merge into the forest bordering on the sand dune, there will be a moment when these details suddenly become part of the ship, and indissolubly fused with it. As I approached, I did not perceive resemblances or proximities which ﬁnally came together to form a continuous picture of the upper part of the ship. I merely felt that the look of the object was on the point of altering, that something was imminent in this tension, as a storm is imminent in storm clouds.’
I have always enjoyed being experimental in my printmaking and enjoy having the subtle effect of over printing in the same colour; for example, white on white or gloss onto acetate. With pale colours, a shimmer or glowing effect can be achieved and I have always adored this.
This is the first time that I have begun to print with black ink on to black paper. As any printmaker knows the quality of the paper is imperative and quality black paper in a reasonable price bracket can be difficult to source and manipulate. For this reason, I have never experimented with it, but with new contacts made and research done, it is time to start experimenting.