Phase

My exhibition ‘Phase’ opens tomorrow night. Although frequently written in part or entirely by the artist, the ‘Press Release’ generally follows the convention of being written in the third person, the ‘third person’ helping to imbue description with an objective or authorative air. In the absence of another authority, and being unapologetically subjective, these notes make up the body of the Press release for ‘Phase’.

“Though in the genus of Print these new works are essentially drawings, print methods making drawings. I’m interested in qualities particular to the printmaking process, the way elements are layered for example, the emphasis on alignments, on mirroring, and multiplicity. Printmakers always seem to be up against limits. The sheet of paper, the printing press, the materials and processes used, while vehicles for expression, also seem to contain it. Boundaries provide definition but I also hope to find ways through or around them, to see beyond them, with sight sharpened by them at the same time.

Etching makes a bitten line that when printed sits up on the paper’s surface. The objective quality of this raised line helps distance it from the world of illusion and bring it closer to the material world. A group of five large etchings are called, ‘Abat-Voix’*. They are made in four adjoining sections, with dense fields of tightly packed lines juxtaposed against each other. Similar in format, surfaces – black (zinc plates) or silver (copper plates) – are differentiated by the specific characteristics of the metals and drawing tools used to make them. Made through a combination of autographic and mechanical process, the work requires a machine-like attention, but benefits from my not being a machine, or from my being only an imperfect one, a machine with feelings.

Smaller works, ‘Tests/Arrangement’, are made from test plates for the larger ones. Based on familiar tropes, off-settings, and doublings of various kinds, each work is made from combinations of repeated elements, unique iterations carrying the referent of other possibilities within them.

Working in the studio I listen to music. It’s part of the experience of drawing so I believe it makes its way in there. The exhibition title refers to a period of time, a particular phase, and also owes something to the composer Steve Reich. I’m interested in tensions between repeated acts and the changes occurring as time and repetitions coalesce. Reich’s ‘Phasing’ technique adjusts sequences of identical notes to move gradually out of time, out of phase, producing in the process an ever-shifting relationship between identical sets of repeating patterns. The linear surfaces of these printed works play against each other in a similar fashion, producing a kind of visual counterpoint.

A small group of lithographs are the first prints I’ve made in this medium. Entitled ‘Mirror’, the prints are based on a page from a notebook.  There is no drawing as such; simply the copying and repositioning of ostensibly blank elements.”

JG September 2012

* An ‘Abat-Voix’ is a device for reflecting sound, specifically the sounding board over a pulpit or rostrum.

Green on Red Gallery, Dublin

Opening 6–8 pm, October 11, 2012

Exhibition Oct 12 – Nov 17

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