Thursday, May 22, 2008

Blackwork Lovers










One of my favorite professors at MECA, Alex Kahn, used to talk about the compilation of ideas for an art project as a funneling process. First we have a wide sweeping gathering of stuff at the top - at the opening of the funnel - at the beginning of the project: a gathering of images, inspirations, sketches, sources, wild goose chases. Then as we edit and discard some stuff, the chosen info trickles down the narrow column of the funnel, becoming more distilled, more focused. He also used to speak about the necessity of settling on one spot and then digging deep. Otherwise, to quote another artist friend, Marianne Legassie, we could be "spread a mile wide and only an inch thick." (This is especially a challenge for me. In the Meyer's Briggs system, I am an ENFP. We jump from one interest to the next and sometimes have difficulty completing projects...)

THAT SAID!

I am nearing completion on my window installation. I tried printing on the press at MECA last week and was unhappy with the results. I decided to stick with water based inks because the oils were just too expensive for the size prints I'm working on. And the water based inks did not respond well with the huge rollers in the print department, and the ink really smooshed when put through the press. I could probably have tried again with a little less pressure on the press, but I ran out of time and paper. I decided to just hand pull them.

And I decided, after all the color experiments, to go with a black ink. I mixed a bit of blue and green ink into the black to soften it a bit. I also decided to work into the print in some areas with a charcoal pencil and a black oil pastel. I was resistant to doing this - the purity of the print and all - then figured, I can do what I want with these! I'm not back in school where this manipulation of the print could be frowned upon...

It really wasn't frowned upon, we were just expected first to learn to do the print processes before we could go off the beaten track and mess with the prints. So it's my own obsessiveness about wanting the matrix to do the work, my own concern that if I get my sticky fingers in the works I'll wreck it. I can't blame that on anyone else!
So here they are so far. I have a bit more work to do on the prints. And today I plan to cut the plates with the bird images. I think that I will simply print the birds on the inside of the window - I am using SoftKut so it will be like a big bird stamp that I can ink and print on anything. I will also cut the upper piece to the diptych today. I decided yesterday to title the diptych Blackwork Lovers. I pulled The Lovers card today - support from the Tarot!
The diptych is about:
A balancing of masculine and feminine aspects in the outer world and in the psyche with some very traditional references such as masculine as sun/light and feminine as moon/dark/reflected light...
(I once heard Sister Wendy speak of our patriarchal system and the current imbalance of the masculine and feminine principles. She said that as long as male powers over female, as long as we exclude the feminine from religion, from spirituality, there can be no peace on Earth...)
It's an Adam and Eve in the Garden scene, but hopefully without the shame...
It's about union with nature, and joy...
It's about the Anima/Animus...

4 comments:

Rob S. said...

These are looking fantastic! I understand the initial trepidation in manipulating the prints, but ultimately, it's all about the final image! Cool idea re: the "bird stamps" - that's going to make it so multi dimensional and fun! You be sure and give me a heads up when the window is unveiled!

Martha Miller said...

thanks, but guess what. tonight i am not happy with them. i'm going to print them again at MECA. i just can't bear drawing on them - they look all wonky to me now compared to the purely printed ones.

agh...

i will let you know when they are going to be installed!

artslice said...

Martha, these are looking great... I am right there with you in that process you described! Guess what... I am an INFP in the Myers Brigg's world. (we studied it intensively in social work school). There are not many of those 'types' out there. I actually scored 12 / 12 on the introvert - extrovert part and they go with introvert even tho I'm 'borderline' on that. I thought you were a kindred spirit! :)

Martha Miller said...

Hi Brenda

Yes, a kindred spirit! Those profiles are sure helpful in self-acceptance, and in understanding others!