Thursday, 27 February 2014

Ship to Shore

Art and the lure of the sea. The subtitle sums up the latest exhibition at SeaCity Museum here in Southampton. I paid it a visit this week and thought it well-worth the trip. Here's how the museum website describes it:

'Ship to Shore explores the different ways that artists have engaged with seas and oceans. The exhibition is an intriguing visual feast of paintings, films, photography and prints alongside archival objects evoking the disorientating vastness of oceans, the romance of sea travel and ship-to-shore communications. Works by contemporary artists such as Tacita Dean, Tracy Emin, Susan Hiller, Steffi Klenz, Richard Long, Langlands and Bell, Humphrey Ocean, Simon Patterson, Zineb Sedira and Yinka Shonibare MBE are exhibited alongside historic paintings including La Vague by Gustav Courbet.
Ship to Shore also offers the visitor a rich visual and audio experience, where the voices of the past are linked with the present, enigmatically joined by the theme of the sea. Ship to Shore is curated by Dr Jean Wainwright in collaboration with the SeaCity Museum and John Hansard Gallery, and is shown across both venues. Artists exhibiting at the John Hansard Gallery include Chris Burden, Thomas Joshua Cooper, Isaac Julien and Catherine Yass.'

Catherine Yass - Lighthouse series  2011
I guess the piece that stayed with me was Zineb Sedira's 16-minute film entitled 'MiddleSea', in which the viewer joins a solitary man on an empty passenger ferry travelling from Marseille to Algiers. He wanders the empty corridors, drinks coffee by himself and stares out over the vast expanse of featureless sea. We see the waves, we hear the deep throb of the engine, a seagull, a radio, the ship's horn and feel engulfed by it; the images are projected on a wall which must be something like 30 feet wide and 20 feet high.

I've always had a rather difficult relationship with video and film installation... I often struggled to 'get' them and would rarely stay to watch a whole piece, but I find as I get older, I can appreciate them much more (or maybe it's the lure of a bit of a sit down in a quiet, darkened space...). I don't wrestle with them in order to 'get' them; I experience them and take from them what I can. This piece was calming, it lulled me. I was travelling with the figure in the film but also we were waiting, in between places, neither here nor there. I particularly liked that other sounds from the gallery building blended with the film's soundtrack; violin music from another exhibit, the clatter of crockery from the museum cafe, slow footsteps of other visitors, the odd murmur of conversation. They didn't in any way distract from the piece but somehow complimented it - for me at least.

Langland and Bell - Into the blue  2014

Steffi Klenz - Concert for Maison Seiren  2014

Steffi Klenz - Concert for Maison Seiren  2014

Monday, 24 February 2014

Learning from mistakes

It may sound obvious but don't stick acetate to acetate with glue.

Things wot I have learned about solar plate.
1. If you're making a multi-plate print, make your acetate template from a proof, not your original drawing.
2. If your acetate template doesn't match up with your etching plate, don't just cut it up and rearrange it onto another piece of acetate.
3. If you must do the above, don't stick the pieces together with glue.
4. Don't try to block out areas with a marker pen - the light goes straight through.
5. Do get something soft to put your plate on and a thick, heavy piece of glass so that you get 100% contact.

Think I made every mistake it's possible to make with this plate. Not tried printing it yet as it's still hardening. Bit afraid to ink it up really but at £12 a throw, I'm determined to use it in some way. The image may not end up as I first planned it, but hey, that's the beauty of printmaking. Keeping everything crossed that serendipity will strike, not disaster...

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Pirate Baby trots on

Two more aquatints done and a little testing of colour. These won't be the final colours... just testing to see if the colour would lighten the image as it seems a bit daerk at the moment. Still too dark so some burnishing needed and a little line work to add detail. Overall though, seems to be coming on okay. Think it's time to make the solar plate for the background next though, to see how the etching looks against it. It will affect the colour of course. Still struggling to motivate myself with this one... but onwards and upwards.

Thursday, 6 February 2014