Art, Identity & Place

How wild places, deep time and archaeology inform my contemporary art process


Self-Portrait as Allegory of Painting

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A re-hash of an image that began as an intaglio print and was put aside for a while before I tackled it again. Technically I wanted to combine oil paint with intaglio print. The image is part of a series about the theme of self-portrait as allegory of painting that seems to have originated in the seventeenth century. In this composition I tried to show how the artist’s mind may discern how light and dark reveal and obscure imagery.

Remaining paintings in this series:

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From 1970 to 2017

 

Comparing Artwork from the last century with that of the 21st century.

The first column consists of my recent artwork which I placed adjacent to the second column. On my website home page are more images from the past, several of which were teaching demos. for students who wanted to explore the styles, techniques and artists of the Modern era. While I likes many aspects of Modernism I wanted to convey  sense of  specific persons and places captured at a particular moment in time which then led me to apply several combinations of style and technique.

On one hand this meant retaining some realism or naturalism in my later work compared to earlier depictions where the figuration was freer but on the other hand, paint was more free flowing and random in recent work but more controlled on earlier images. I like the different qualities of the wet on wet oil medium with random areas of flow, bleeding edges, transparencies and impasto so I gradually left behind some aspects of painting built up by using wet on dry techniques. The result is that I do combinations of both.

 

 

 

 


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‘Interrogating Rock’ – intaglio & metal leaf

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I produced these images on paper by intaglio technique and black ink using a zinc plate. The process began two years ago having done the black and white intaglio I wanted to experiment with metal leaf as a composition element. It was a struggle to apply the leaf ( copper, gold and silver) with ink resulting in several mistakes and badly printed efforts with the leaf tearing and printing in places not intended.

But my disappointment lifted when I looked at them from a distance and saw in these altered random elements an unintended continuation of my environment/geology theme with human interaction as integrated part, not separate from it. So the messy metal leaf became ore bodies as I recalled a period in my life when I lived in mining towns and ventured underground at a copper mine in Tasmania.

The first 3 images worked with some trimming but the others needed chine colle as a composition element and in one I scraped away part of the leaf. In another 7/10 print I combined a plate from another series about Brachina gorge with the first plate as well as applying gold leaf and chine colle.

As a result this type of edition, because although the images vary I retain in each print an element of the first print ie the black intaglio, is termed a variable edition. I prefer this way of printing which can look painterly, perhaps, to traditional editioning where multiples of the same image make up an edition.