prints

A selection of the 90 monoprints on show at the Nirox Project Space at Art on Main 14 – 24 October 2012

We have easy access to images of deep space taken by numerous telescopes and cameras which depict objects spanning hundreds, thousands even millions of light years across and millions and even billions of light years distant. Aspects of these spectacular images are often not visible to the human eye captured as they are by infra red, radio or x-ray telescopes. The colours assigned to them are also a balance between scientific accuracy and aesthetics as the raw data is always received in black and white. We don’t know what our universe looks like.

The sub-atomic world also throws up impossible visual models of our universe. The best way to understand atoms is the famous figure of the orange representing the nucleus placed in the centre of a rugby field and marbles representing electrons orbiting it from the distance of the try line. So against our better judgment, we have to come to terms with the fact that matter is mostly empty space. To make it more problematic, the whole orange and marble analogy is nonsense. Electrons are actually waveforms of some sort and it is a physical impossibility to simultaneously predict the position and speed of an electron. It was Niels Bohr who said something along the lines of ‘Anyone who says they understand quantum dynamics has not understood quantum dynamics’.

Below is one of 20 or so digital prints with a drawn element. Each drawn element as well as the printed element is unique. The large black stain is a single scanned and digitally printed dot made with a 0.13 rotring pen and the drawn element is made up of similar tiny dots. The complete series will comprise of around 15 – 20 such images which I will post as they are completed.

The image is obviously highly magnified and one can detect the colour information that the scanning and printing process imposes on the image as it searches for colour information on such a small scale. The bands on the edges of the dot could also be an interpretation of very obscure information by the scanner or the printer (or both) or it could be the weave of the paper. I am intrigued by the very large and the very small and our inability as humans to fully grasp either of them.

In June 2010 I spent a week with Mark Atwood at The Artist’s Press Studio in White River, Mpumalanga. Apart from having the most incredible time at Mark and Tamar’s guesthouse I spent the week trying to get my head around the processes he had on offer. I made a series of 16 monoprints using chine colle whereby printed elements are glued through the press onto the final image. I also used a kind of photographic lithographic process by scraping the emulsion off sheets of film and then exposing those marks onto a photographic plate which was then developed and inked up.

In 2010 and 2011 I spent some time with Jill Ross at the David Krut print workshop at Art on Main. This kind of printing was a complete departure from what I was used to in terms of process. The challenge of allowing the process and the medium to throw up its own ideas and to allow chance to have a say was a difficult one but I am happy with the results.