Back to the real

Friends, this has become more of an occasional outreach than a blog, and the blame lies with me and my new best ‘friend’, Instagram. How much easier, how tempting it’s been these past months, to point my  iphone at a painting and without thinking very hard, without wrapping it in a theme and prose-ing around it, just to slap it up on Instagram and wait for the lovely ‘likes’ to raise their dear little red hearts and give me a warm glow. They like me! Take a peek at my Instagram and you’ll see why I’ve been unfaithful to you, dear readers. This fuzzy confusion of  ‘like’ with like is so very seductively welcome to we solitary workers. But here I am again, dear hearts, because there’s something of an unsatisfactory cheat about the Instagram process – to which I will doubtless remain addicted. Here’s the thing — the format absolutely has to be square. So the long scroll you see below, which required such loving, careful repeated mono printing in order not to tear or crinkle the fine chinese paper……

IMG_2901    …becomes this, when it’s translated into one of Instagram’s squares:

IMG_1174 Not at all the same thing! and, sorrowful to admit,  I am usually tempted to click ‘share’, instantly publishing my images to both Facebook and the twittersphere, so this fib of an image makes its modest entry into ethernet art history as an inauthentic version of its true self. As I say, my adoration of Instagram and its fix of daily ‘likes’ will continue, but in our WordPress rendezvous, my friends, no such distortion happens, and the truth is posted. Long may it continue! Before I continue with today’s rant about truth, here are some more newish little monoprints which, like the scroll, are printed from easily-cut blocks of foam board.So much easier on not-young hands ( can’t bring myself to say the O-word) than the wood- or lino-cutting I used to do.

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The small monoprint below in the same series includes some ‘chine collĂ©’ (a way of incorporating some lightweight contrasting paper into the print during the inking process). In this case, you can clearly see the square of chine collĂ© with a turquoise splodge, from a sheet which I found at the wonderful New York Central Art Supply shop. Thank you to New York artist Jane Kaplan – we met serendipitously in the lobby of our hotel in Paris, and she told me about this technique as we compared notes over a cup of coffee.

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Here’s a collage of companion monoprints studded with handpainted bright spots:

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Back now to truth and authenticity! There’s nothing more important to an artist than making work about the things of eye, heart and soul that really grab us – and in my case these are various to say the least. The little monoprints above developed from my love of stripes – the subject of an earlier post – be they straight, fractured, or curvy. On the other hand I’m also obsessed with ‘ferronerie’, the curliest of wrought iron, and I’m forever sticking drawings and photocopies of old ironwork into my collages. I’m also a sucker for ancient visual and linguistic symbols that speak to me of our imagined family journey from ancient Middle East to present day London, winding its way through centuries and geography. Here’s a new collage with plenty of scrolls and bits of ancient stone and metalwork, as well as snippets of the rich fabrics I so enjoy picking up from the cloth shops of London’s Berwick Street in Soho.

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Here’s the finished version of a piece I posted while it was in progress some months ago. It was my greatest treat as a little girl to sort out my Mum’s needlework drawer; the daughter of a master designer, and a lady who loved clothes and trimmings, she had a great collection of buttons, beads, lace, ribbons and bindings. This piece, suggestive of a map, roughly charts our family journey in languages and symbols; monoprinted lace jostles with fragments of Farsi poetry, amuletic words in Hebrew and Farsi  – love, luck, health, happiness, joy and plenty  – are scattered amongst the names of close family as well as female ancestors to whom I somehow feel connected.

 Resuming work after my inconvenient health interruption – already documented here at length ( I can’t resist a good health story, it’s a genetic trait) – has reinforced my desire to express through my work – as all artists need to do – something which feels authentic and truthful to me – be that about myself and my own small place in history, or my joy in the purely abstract explorations of line and texture.  I used to spend a lot of time trying to organise the hang of my annual studio show into a coherent theme; perhaps I didn’t appreciate at the time that there was quite enough of a connecting factor  – myself.

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