The Zero collection is a series of abstract monoprints. These are developed from an earlier exploration of space, area, and pattern where I used wood blocks to print squares into a 3 by 3 grid, and then looked at the different percentages by which the grid could be divided to create varying patterns within a prescribed framework. In the Zero collection, I have been using larger wood blocks out of rough sawn timber so I can use the rough grain of the wood to generate textured wood block prints.
There are two main concepts to the Zero series: firstly, to create abstracts prints through inking up the grain of the rough sawn timber and overprinting layers to create depth; and secondly, to push the boundaries of what is a relief print by over inking to create textured prints. For me, creativity and process are both important elements to this print series.
My printing process is dynamic and organic whereby each print is produced quickly. This allows the parameters of the next print to be edited and changed rapidly. Each print is made up of eleven layers of ink. By controlling how much ink is used on each block using over-inking and under-inking, I am not seeking to create the perfect print but an interesting print with depth and texture. Its’ imperfections and the unexpected dynamics created by the layers of ink is where my interest lies and results in each print being unique and individual, with a distinctive textured, painterly effect.
Because of the texture and the depth of ink when I look at my prints, I don’t see a two-dimensional print but something that has space and depth – it turns into something solid. I have eliminated overt, recognizable imagery in favour of abstraction so my prints are an escapist experience: as people walk closer to my print, they can become immersed in the detail and the depth of the print. Therefore, each viewer will bring their own life experience when looking at the textured, abstract prints which will draw out their own feelings and pareidolia.
Zero aligns itself with colour field artists such as Jules Olitski, John Hoyland, Clyfford Still and Mark Rothko: “these artists wanted to present each painting as one unified, cohesive, monolithic image often within a series of related types.”[i] Zero works is similar way like Rothko said, "A painting is not a picture of an experience; it is an experience."[ii]
Zero is the start of a creative journey where I hope to create a body of artwork that starts a new style of abstract printmaking and a discussion about traditional print making processes.
As Zero progresses, I intend to use larger and larger wood blocks in order to scale up to human size prints.
[i] Abbie Shores, “What Is - Colour Field Painting” accessed 22.06.19
[ii] 'Mark Rothko', Dorothy Seiberling in LIFE magazine (16 November 1959), p. 82