Monday, 25 March 2013

Comme deux gouttes d'eau

   A few days ago when I pulled this print and tucked it away under weights to flatten it, I thought I would wait for a sunny day to photograph it before making a post.  But now the weather forecast is saying to expect maybe a month more of leaden skies and snowflakes.  The heating is broken and I am shut in at the kitchen table where the room is oven-warmed as cookies have been baked and tea has been brewed.  So hello, it has been a while!

   Continuing with the series of prints on the theme of 'double', this newest print is 20 x 30cm, and once again is made in a technique that involves building up tones by scratching many dashes, dots, and lines into various coats of hard ground.

   In the central area of the image are two women, dressed almost alike, and locked into the process of dressing themselves, transforming themselves.  Women sit in the gloom watching the construction of elaborate and ridiculous fashions. A doubling is taking place and the air is thick with measuring gazes.

   While I don't like to saddle an image with interpretation, and though I often feel like the more I write about something I've made the farther away I get from what I really want to say, I know people often like to have some starting point for looking at a print or a painting.  So, I'll give you one of mine. When I started drawing out the early sketches for this print, one thought was of the sort of claustrophobic femininity that encourages women, especially but not exclusively younger women, to imitate one another directly or bow to pressure to follow larger, societal patterns of behaviour.  I thought about bizarre and stressful close friendships.

   I am sure that many people can relate to this sort of oppressive cultural experience.  Beyond the feminine articulations of this matter, I often wonder to just what extent we are all doubles of the culture that we are formed by.

   The title of this print comes from the French idiom "se ressembler comme deux gouttes d'eau".  In English this would literally translate as "to resemble one another like two drops of water", a way of expressing a likeness, usually a physical one, but possibly more than that.

   Anyway, hopefully I'll have another plate to share with you soon.  Sorry for being a bit absent from online life recently, I've been staying at home a lot and throwing every spare moment into the copperplates, only looking in (but not commenting) on others' posts when I'm taking breaks, feeling like the world is passing me by a little.  I hope your March has been, and continues to be wonderful!

Friday, 1 March 2013

Trapped Light

So many days of windowsill living, bent-double-over-a-desk living.  There are moments when even the indoor world of wall papers, doorknobs, empty cups and saucers is afflicted with longing.  There is a palpable, though inert, stress in these rooms, an inanimate longing to press up against the windowpane.  It happens sometimes as the sunset rushes heedlessly through the house, trailing a pink glow in its wake, dripping crimson across the table and the floor.  Other times the feeling comes as the harsh light of morning pushes outlines of flowers up against the curtain, a slow film projected to the dim and cloistered room.  A plant suffering a terrible thirst is finally watered, and it throws its leafy stalks upwards hastily, forgetting for a short while the visibility of motion.