Usually, prints are presented behind glass, with a matt surrounding the image and a frame enclosing the whole lot. Why struggle to achieve a beautiful surface, then put it behind glass, with its hardness and reflectivity?
I remember discovering encaustic at an exhibition in the Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Sydney, some years ago. There was a beautiful Kim Westcott drypoint embedded in a glowing sensuous red wax. It was large, and unframed. I could see that potentially I could free myself from frame and glass if I explored encaustic. Encaustic is a medium entirely on its own , but it can also be used to collage prints or works on paper together, and to seal them from dust so that they don’t have to be presented behind glass. To work the wax, you can use techniques which are familiar to printmakers. Moreover, the wax can make even quite thick paper translucent, so there is an opportunity to explore the use of light. And, like in printmaking, there are lots of happy accidents. For the last few years, I have been learning as much as I can about encaustic, and have used it together with my printmaking, and alone, as a separate discipline.
I can see that I have plenty of new directions to take, places to stop on my journey, before I move on again.
Yesterday I gave a talk at Manly Gallery to accompany the Leave Nothing but Prints Exhibition. Since I worked quite hard on it, (I find it very difficult to write about my own work) I thought I might publish it here, because it is an explanation of my approach. It was quite long, so I’ll have to publish it in a few parts.I hope you find it worth reading. This first part is illustrated with my photographs.
Why do I make prints?
The things that attracted me to printmaking were things I couldn’t find in painting, though others might. I am immensely attracted to paper, because I am really attracted to the surface of things. I make the joke that I am deeply superficial!
Through printmaking, I work with the paper, layering the images onto it, and trying to make the most of those happy accidents that are the gift of the printmaking gods from time to time. I look for marks I can make to create a seductive surface which will draw the viewer in. I have grown to love the random, the accidental, the gestural where the nature of the marks I make leaves room for a kind of visual exploration of the surface.
My images are about surface, rather than form, line, colour and so on. I am attempting to evoke a feeling, or a mood, through the surfaces I create.