Sunday, 27 November 2016

Collagraph Research - Carolyn Trant

Carolyn Trant takes an individual approach to this versatile medium. Her prints are relief printed, using cardboard blocks. They are inked 'a la pope' - with a doll - cotton ball to apply the ink.
All of these prints come from from handmade books also containing poetry.

Printed with large pieces of cardboard on block, inked variably with variegated colors. In this image smooth textures allow for the blends of color to stand out. However, the element which forms and shapes this are the white lines, the negative space of what has been removed by the artist to create this composition. These white diagonal lines and direction of the birds gives this image energy and movement.

Images from this work are featured in  Printmaking, Ann D'Arcy Hughes. In there she describes the process:

Thin layers of card on top of each other, different levels, varnished with button polish.
Different colors inked in one go with cotton 'dollies'. If you roll the block the image is too flat.
Relief printed with damp paper and lots of pressure, creates a highly embossed image.

This print has more intricate shapes and flatter colors. A small area of variable inking on the eggs creates form and contrast. The bold lines also define this composition, the white lines of the negative space of the bird and the contrasting blue lines of the tree.

This techniques has a different line quality to lino, straighter lines, sharper points. It also has completely different textures to other collagraphs. This technique could create quite a high level of detail, and tonal values all come from inking.

In the handmade book Winterreisse, which is based on the poetry and songs of Schuberts song cycle of the same name, collagraph prints are layered under transparent paper containing hand written text.

I absolutely love this idea. I hated this particular Schubert song cycle at university. I saw a very odd performance of it once and also had to study it in great depth. I have since seen better performances and the work, and genre, has grown on  me considerably. I love the idea of interpreting a piece of music visually, a challenge is always that visual art is static, music moves, a book is a beautiful way to express this linearity. From what I can see of this work it appears that the artist has interpreted the narrative of the text, it is difficult to know whether the lines and colors of the music had much influence on the visual qualities of the work.

It is difficult to see over the internet how much detail can be seen through the overlays. I suspect that more can be seen in real life than in these photos. These prints are extremely rich in textures, and become even richer with the overlays. These prints are different to the works above. They have a much bigger variety of textures so look like they may have used the intaglio method of collagraph similar to Suzie Mackenzie.

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