North

Lithography and Screenprint, 2018, Jane Elizabeth Bennett, August Artistic Experimentation

I feel so privileged to be mentioned in Volume 4 of ‘North’ as part of Jo Garrett’s wonderful interview on the darkroom.

North Magazine, Volume 4 featuring Jane Elizabeth Bennett and Jo Garrett
North Magazine, Volume 4 Jo Garrett’s Interview featuring Jane Elizabeth Bennett

I love the way that Jo talks about the magic of the darkroom, the physical interactions between chemistry and light, it is alchemy and I adore it. I think it is so easy to disassociate the physicality of making work from the final outcome which often ends up, framed and pristine, on a white wall.

When I’m working in the darkroom with Jo, I can relax. We often discuss the crossovers and co-dependencies of printmaking and photography. How each process informs, shapes and directs the evolution of the other, while still remaining very separate artforms.

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Experimental Darkroom

Digital Darkroom Print, black and white pixelation on photographic paper, 2018

Darkroom photography has always held a fascination for me. There is something magical about taking a photograph in one place and then summoning its appearance in another. I think it’s the closest to alchemy that I’m likely to get – but what is more exciting than following the rules of the darkroom  – is breaking the rules. I met Joanna Garrett, a specialist in ‘experimental darkroom’ in 2017 and she has had me hooked ever since.

The experimental darkroom differs from the traditional darkroom in a number of ways – mainly that it there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way of utilizing it, the aim is to find a methodology and aesthetic that work ‘for you’. Through trial, error and lots of research, we are working collaboratively as well as individually in order to develop new bodies of work.

This way of working fits with my printmaking and installation practice and the thrill of finding something that works, as well as subverting a traditional method really excites me. To read more about my experiments with softground etching click here and to see how I have worked with sensors, animation and sound click here.

Alternatively, browse of some experimental projects in this gallery.


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Stone Lithography

Experimental Stone Lithography, Jane Elizabeth Bennett, 2018

Upskilling with Stone Lithography

Stone Lithography is a skill that I have always wanted to obtain, but it has always seemed to be closer to witchcraft than printmaking.

I think that is part of the magic, taking a stone, drawing materials and array of chemicals, and after many hours of rubbing, flapping and mixing various chemicals a body of work will begin to form.

Jane Elizabeth Bennett, 2018 Using the Offset Press for Lithography
Jane Elizabeth Bennett, 2018 Using the Scraper Press for Stone Lithography

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Phenomenology and Place

Phenomenology and Experimental Screen Printing.

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.’

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Multiplicity, Soft-ground and Stop Start Etching

I am so excited to be experimenting with Multiplicity, Soft-ground and Stop Start Etching.

In my last blog post, I spoke about the difficulties in forming a conversation between the marks that were present on the plate. To me, the etch was shouting over the natural striations and oxidisation that I was encouraging to form. Resolved to take an active approach to mark making. Utilising soft-ground, Lascaux varnish, impure water and a pertinent quotation from A Thousand Plateaus I began to experiment.

soft-ground stop start etching rhizome printmaking
The experimental soft ground on a hand ground zinc plate.

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