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!


  1. Beautiful, incredibly fine work, Jodi! I love the composition of the negative and negative spaces, the various patterns and the interesting theme.

    Putting one's work into words is difficult in many ways. Your piece, to me, doesn't need it but you have said it well. Thanks for sharing. May the next one come along smoothly, and may you have some sunnier days ahead.

  2. Utterly amazing as ever Jodi.
    The intricate speckled background almost "sounds" like TV interference!
    We are also longing for the far off sun down here in Devon.
    Wishing you warmth and inspiration in the dark days xx

  3. this is astonishing! i love it, it is my favorite so far :) the whole series has been magic.

  4. Your words today brought me out of my shell (like those tiny hermit crabs, living in their mobile pyramids)... I know what it is like to enjoy blogs during breaks; it has been a time of much work on my end. But I have come over to say that such lovely posts as yours here are precious whenever they are ripe for the publishing - that's what I think, at least. Quality over quantity.
    I so enjoy, too, rereading your posts, to muse over the topics. It is a gift to be able to select themes that are so abundant in ideas: even though you explained a bit about your print here, there's plenty of room for us to think further. Like this "claustrophobic femininity" - could it be contrast to the Ojibwe Half Sky, I wonder? She would not be just another drop...

  5. Hellllloooo Jodie - I for one hope you stay inside your oven warmed kitchen for a little while longer working on your series, it just keeps getting more wonderful - I love the expressions of this audience, they wouldn't look out of place in front row seats at any international fashion week. Desire and envy for sameness ... a crazy female trait that's a little odd when you think about it - but a great inspiration for your creativity*!*

  6. Although I love hearing what the artist has to say about the work, this piece spoke loud and clear. I sensed immediately that sense of forced conformity, i have two younger sisters, I recall those moments vividly (and painfully). Your work is very evocative and emotional, the little hack marks, gouges and dashes speak volumes.
    BTW Next semester i must focus on intaglio, your work is making me itchy for copper.
    Take care, LG

  7. I wonder if it is anyway possible to understand why it is SOOO pleasant and satisfying to look at drawings built with dashes dots and lines. I love it!!! And I see a pattern of spider webs across the heart and in the arms of the "deux gouttes", shaping their dresses. One of the loveliest compliments for a printmaker is that you kindle the passion for printmaking ;-)