A small gallery of photos of the final version of one of my books of letters, made from photographs of Mynydd Llangyndeyrn and letters I had written to myself. They are hand printed, using cyanotype print processes and toned with green tea, and I am very pleased with the work.
Photographs of the work are not the work, they are a representation of the work. It can become complex, layered, enfolded.
I take a digital photograph using my mobile phone. I get a print shop to print it, and then I draw on it, and screen print words onto it, in layers.
Then, I try to photograph it for a digital display. I discover this: these photographs, all of them, and especially the ones with the gold leaf, do not photograph easily at all. Everything shifts with slight changes in angle, in light. Actually, this is what I love about them. Words come into visibility and out. Whole paragraphs disappear and reappear.
Are they impossible to represent? Not quite. I don’t believe that. It’s just harder, it takes a long time and fortitude. Because I did not want to admit defeat, I felt like there was something so important about them, I wanted so much to show, to share.
I’ve been working, in series with my books and drawings of the mountain, on these paintings of the evening drawing in, darkness falling.
And a video, a reading of one of my little books of the mountain:
I’ve finished a large drawing today, done from a video taken on a February evening, as night was falling on Mynydd Llangyndeyrn. This is one of a series of three (so far) linked drawings:
I’ve been printing short randomised parts from my notebook onto small mixed-media photos and watercolour paintings, to make pieces of work in response to walking through the winter months at the mountain at dusk.
In order to do it, I’ve been working on improving my screen printing skills, and finding a good way to set up so that I can print accuately, and very clearly, but with slight faintness, and disappearing out in places. Through a lot of trial and error, I’ve managed to make it work using small screens on a board on the kitchen table, although I still can’t exactly say how to make the images disappear at the edges. I am starting to suspect that it partly has to do with putting packing underneath, and partly has to do with using old pots of ink, and letting the screen dry out a little, not something that is normally advised.
Today revisiting my work of the last few months; considering what ties it together. Thinking about how to select work for exhibition, what story to tell, and how to tell it. I have not answered the questions which I have raised, but I am making a start.
I will show work made at the mountain, at the time of the drawing down of dark, the limits and ends of perception. Enclosing darkness: dusk, falling light, colours glowing up then fading out. Seen, unseen, disappearing, dissolving. There is a blind spot in our eyes: it makes vision possible. There is a fuzzy edge of shadow, where information and noise mingle.
Why look at these things, why paint them? I might have wanted to make the mountain into an observatory, to be able to find truth and share it, to say “I saw that. I went back to the same mountain every day, and this was revealed…” Any truth that was was revealed to me was not a bright mountain. Looking into the fading light, what I saw from the corner of my eye was the hard strangeness of the ordinary; small, dim, partial, multiple, murky, changing, mysterious.
A trial or prototype for a concertina book, using images of my photos and letters.