That period immediately after finishing a group of work is tricky. Having worked so hard, I knew that I would need a break. So I haven’t worried too much about what I’ve been doing in the past couple of weeks. Which is not very much! But I’m starting to prepare to get back to work.
Part of that is reviewing what I have just done. Looking at the group as a whole, I’m noticing different aspects that I want to develop – composition, marks, layering. And within the group, the work falls into one of three variations. I decided not to give pieces individual titles this time so they are named for each of these sub groups.
The main group, Between the Lines, was the most “planned”. This includes the larger pieces, including two of the largest pieces I have yet made. These use some of the ideas I explored in my drawings and are inspired by horizons and places where water meets land. A second group, Transience, is closely related but evolved more freely once I started working with the actual marks on the cloth I had made. To me these are more specifically about things that are in the process of moving, flowing and changing.
Both are about liminal, ambiguous places – tidelines, creeks, estuaries – where things are in constant flux and neither completely solid nor completely liquid. But they are also reflections on another sense of “liminality” – the psychological space between not knowing and knowing. Such as when someone is in the midst of learning something but has not yet properly understood it. It’s the parallels between the two that fascinate me and I shall continue to reflect upon and explore this.
One of the things I enjoyed about this series was the way that the monoprinting process resembled these processes. Each print was the same but some details were lost and new ones emerged from one to the next. Between the Lines 2 in particular exploits this transition, being built around three consecutive prints. You can look at it as a continuous “horizon” or as three separate snapshots of the same space.
The third group, Blackthorn, is more distinct and grew out of my print experiments last summer. It uses completely different imagery developed from photographs I took on an icy, foggy February morning several winters ago. At first I felt these were unrelated, but when I consider them, their attraction to me is also related to their diffuse edges – neither solid nor empty space.
The process of photographing all these, particularly the close-ups, also helped me to see them differently and suggested new ideas. I particularly liked the more extreme abstraction of some of the cropped images. I’m starting to make plans for the next phase of this series. … which means it’s time to get back into the studio.
In the meantime though I have a short break in Norfolk to look forward to. A large proportion of this work will be in the exhibition at Bircham Gallery which opens this Saturday and runs until 6 March. All the work can be viewed on their web site.