Tuesday, 17 May 2011


I've been working on a couple on linocuts recently. They're not too big, maybe around A3 size, but kind of as test plates for something much larger once I get the hang of things. I've noticed a big difference in the style of image depending on if I draw from a photograph (in the case of Jess, above) or largely from memory (the old man pic).

One of the great benefits of reduction linoprinting (where you use the same block for every coloured layer, cutting away progressively and printing on top of previous colours) is that you end up with no block at the end. I feel like its a great relief to destroy your block in the process of printing an image, it allows you to cut away without feeling too precious.

I'm not too keen on the flaming background but I'm still getting the hang of things. It's really nice to have colour back in my life after all that etching.

Islington Green

Been drawing - at last! I've been thinking about the spaces that people occupy together, I sketched this image quickly trying to get a sense of people in transit.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Dan Hays Talk

Harmony in Green, 1997

Dan Hays gave a presentation about his work and ongoing practice based PhD. I was intrigued by the idea of an arts based PhD... His thesis will take the form of an exhibition plus a relatively short written component. He received funding for 3.5 years to do it; of course with the cuts now I bet the money for this kind of thing is gone.

Colorado impression 11b (after Dan Hays), 2002

Hays works using pixelated video stills and a projector, and low resolution imagery sourced from the internet. The imagery for this painting was sourced from a photograph on a website of another man named Dan Hays who lives in Colorado. Hays the painter mentioned formal links with landscape artists and tapestry, where images are also created using a pixel system. The irony is that these oil paintings take Hays hundreds of hours to make, and they are based on an image that was made in a fraction of a second.

Colorado Impression 16d (after Dan Hays, Colorado), 2007

There were certainly aspects of this talk that interested me more then others. For example the painting above was created with a single continuous snaking line, a technique Hays refers to as "the Caterpillar technique", it gives the affect of tiles or hidden depth.

Colorado Impression 12b

The colours of this image have been inverted and the image has been flipped vertically.. you can see traces of the original source material in the shape of trees in the top left hand corner. I was interested in the idea of landscapes that make sense visually when upside down.

I find it hard to engage with these paintings. I think the choice of source material is a little strange.. Dan Hays has never been to Colorado, and the only link between himself and the source material is this other man that shares his name. It almost seems like Hays is removing his own interest from his work by letting someone else produce the source imagery. I also find it hard to engage with what Hays referred to as 'the pixel club', artists such as Susan Collins who works from a live video feed, and Christiane Baumgartner, who creates the most incredible large scale woodcuts from video stills. Hays said that "screens are disappearing landscapes" - and this is an interesting idea, but I feel saturated. After being bombarded with screens all day the last thing I want to do is look at paintings of nature through a screen.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Gauguin at Tate Modern

The Ancestors of Tehamana or Tehamana has many Parents

Went to see the Gauguin exhibition at Tate Modern. My favourite part was his drawings, which were rounded and heavy with simplified forms, bold line and smooth faces with an emphasis on contour. I really like his sure of colour to describe space.

When Gauguin moved to Tahiti and was disappointed at how Westernised it was. As a result, Gauguin invented a lot of the narratives and beliefs that he used as inspiration in his paintings. I had not known that before seeing this exhibition, and after I found out, I wasn't sure how I felt about it. On the one hand he seems to present life and belief and stories side by side, and I enjoy that, but on the other hand, who knows how much of it is false?