This is a double plate print, which means two plates have been created and inked up in contrasting colours and printed and registered exactly on the printing press, one over the other. The Print Technique used is called Solar Plate Printmaking which is a non-toxic printing method which exposes images onto a Polymer coated metal plate using UV light.
It has been printed in the traditional Intaglio method onto 100% Cotton Rag paper 285gsm in thickness using an Etching Press.
This is a new body of work and aims to explore the power of the partially obscured, or inadequately seen, photographic portrait. In these prints a powerful abstract swathe of ink threatens the image with invisibility and doing so adds potency to the impassive face.
We live in a world in which the art of memory seems almost obsolete, having been outsourced to communications technology, through which perfect, high-resolution images and information are endlessly uploaded and reproduced. These contemporary methods of digital record-keeping led me to wonder what impact this would have on our perception of ourselves; and what affect the proliferation of so many perfect representations of the human face would have on the appreciation of old and unclear photographic souvenirs, and whether their very fragility, by contrast, would confer some mystery and power on these fragments.
"Whatever Photography grants to vision and whatever its manner, a photograph is always invisible: it is not it that we see."
Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes
This triggered a new direction in my practice and an exploration into the impact of partly obscured portraits. Francis Bacon stated that his portraiture sought to "Deform into the Truth" and in a similar way these prints aim to reveal by obscuring the unique nature and moment when this image was fixed for all time.
The dominant black image was created by me using Chinese ink and carborundum (a sort of black sand) using controlled, gestural mark making and mindful of the relationship between that plate and the one beneath; the paler image is a photograph which was given to me to use in my work and which I loved. The man who gave it to me had been given it as a prize many, many years ago and wanted me to have it as we both thought it an exceptional image (he thinks it is a Belgian man but wasn’t sure!).
The edition size is 25, and the prints are all numbered and signed on the front, beneath the image and embossed using my SdR logo - see photo..
Polymer coated etching plate. Oil-based etching ink. 100% Cotton Rag 285 gsm paper. Printing Press.