Friday, February 21, 2014

Like Minds

Column © 2014 Rafael Ferran

My etching Column began as a plate handed over to me by an artist friend who was into making prints about plants at the time. Well she was stumped and flummoxed about this plate and couldn't nor wouldn't want to work with it anymore and so I inherited this plate with a definite design etched into it. 

Just like all artists wanting to maintain their originality,
 I began to remove her design by scrapping the plate and then immersing it into an acid bath, but it was etched it so deeply that I couldn't take out most of it(unless I spent a few days on it). I decided to make it part of a new image so I inked up the plate in black and wiped it down leaving only the ink in the etched parts. 
Ready for the second phase! 
I started with 3 shapes I cut out from thin plastic, and placed one shape in the center of the plate to mask out the design and produce a white silhouette. Using a small roller, I inked up the other two shapes in black and placed them ink-side up on either side of the center to function as stamps.  
Off to the press!
Once I positioned the plate, I placed a sheet of print paper on top, cranked it through the press, and pulled my first proof. That's how I came to create Column, technically speaking.

Now there's also the aesthetic and expressive side of me that shaped it. 
I chose not to use color but instead keep it black and white for consistency.
As I was organizing these shapes it occurred to me that what the picture needed was more segmentation or fragmentation. I opted for a jig-saw like arrangement to be created as a counterpoint to the sinuous and organic features behind them. 
Tension needed to be created!
I made the shapes long and tall, based on her vertical design, and cut out a zigzag pattern to achieve a freer exchange between the positive and negative space. As they evolved they also acquired a figurative appearance and were becoming more like three totem sentinels guarding the garden.

Here's a question for artists: 

Have you ever been surprised to come across another artist whose artwork is similar in concept to what you have been doing? Well I experienced that a couple of weeks ago going to an exhibition in Chelsea by the artist Jeremy Comins.
DENIS BIBRO FINE ART put on view his recent work from February 13th –March 29th, 2014. The exhibit consists of many free standing sculptures, and drawings.
He fabricates his assemblages from hand carved wood and shaped industrial PVC pipe into playful interlocking shapes within shells or shields that are reminiscent of a womb. The collection of sculptures express an organic quality  expanding into our space in various playful and articulate ways. His drawings are of nicely rendered tree forms with bark like textures and rich surface details that have all the soul of his sculptures.

Even though my work is two dimensional there is a familiar element in his work that I find so relative to my own. It is a good show by a master artist and I recommend seeing it.

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