It’s been an interesting year; one without too much travel, but lots of fun.
MCBA The big thing throughout 2011 has been my MCBA/Jerome Foundation mentorship. It’s been a really satisfying opportunity and the experience of working with the other five recipients, everyone at MCBA and our three generous mentors is one I’ll treasure.
A year ago I knew nothing about letterpress printing on the Vandercook, lead typesetting, silkscreen printing, case making, multi-signature sewing, book binding, pressure printing and many other techniques. Today, I’d like to think I know a little more.
It wasn’t necessarily an easy project and I didn’t see anything of the spring, summer and autumn because I was busy working at printing the images, laying out and printing the text pages and making the case, but that’s the kind of environment I love to be in. The results of my labour can be found here on my website.
A short break came in July, when I got to make an unexpected trip to Santa Fe and the Land of Many Uses for the opening of Cy DeCosse’s show at Verve Gallery.
After the MCBA opening in early November, I flew to Greece with Beth to assist her with the images for her McKnight Fellowship. We did a lot of walking and a four day road trip; Athens – Corinth – Nafplion – Patras – Delphi – Athens. I even managed to drive through the morning and evening rush hour traffic in central Athens, eventually parking the rental car in the tiny parking space outside our hotel like a true Athenian. Read into that what you will…
I realised I had to be one of the few Britons who had never been to Greece before, but I absolutely fell in love with the people, the landscape, the food and the temperament of the country. The trip also gave me the opportunity to catch up with my old friend and photographer Martin, someone I hadn’t see in sixteen years but who I’d spent many, many days and even more evenings with in the 1980s and 1990s. Back then I was printing in London and Martin was one of those photographers who had started as a client but quickly became a close friend. We only got to see him again briefly as he was passing through Athens on his way back to the UK, but it was as if we’d only seen each other the day before. I guess wine has that effect.
Beth using her iPad as an 8″ x 10″ point-and-shoot.
As I write this it’s 7pm CST, so I guess that’s about it for 2011. Here’s wishing for a wonderful 2012.
My MCBA mentorship is nearly over after a year-long series of workshops and mentoring on the book arts. Myself and the five other recipients have covered everything from what constitutes an artist book, various forms of bindings, multi-signature binding, silkscreen, lead typesetting, polymer plates for letterpress, letterpress printing, paper making, box construction and relief printing. It’s been a long, hard but utterly enjoyable ride and I’ll be sad to see it end. But it won’t of course, because the book arts is something that will stay with me. But I will miss the camaraderie of the other five recipients, Amanda, Caroline, Meryl, Rachel and Ben, although I’m sure I’ll be seeing many of them around MCBA in the future – I hope so.
Our show opens on November 4th at the MCBA gallery in Minneapolis, and as well as the finished book, I’ll have the images framed and on the wall.
Deep inside an idle iron mine, below the ancient hematite rock formations of northern Minnesota, a tiny elevator rattles to a halt on Level 27. Here among dozing bats and artificial lights, people wait. And wait. This is the unlikely site of the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS II) lab, where scientists are looking for the tiny burst that will indicate evidence of dark matter, a product of the big bang believed to comprise 25% of the material in the universe. Observations of visible structures in space suggest that their own gravitational forces are not strong enough to account for their formation, suggesting some kind of missing mass is responsible. This missing mass is believed to be dark matter, so called because it does not emit or scatter light like ordinary matter.
DARK MATTER is a conceptual investigation of the visual phenomenon of shadows inside the CDMS II lab and in the forest around the site. Since scientists don’t know what it is exactly, or if it even exists, these photographs imagine what this mysterious substance might look like if it were visible.
• Twenty unbound but sequenced hand-pulled polymer photogravures.
• Printed on Rives BFK with letterpress printed text pages set in Proxima Nova.
• Title page, statement, colophon and plate index.
• Single tray case in black Canapetta book cloth with hand made Cave paper.
• Designed and produced entirely by the artist.
• 14″ w x 15.5″ h.
• Edition of 10 plus artist proofs.