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11”x14” relief print on washi paper. Mounted and matted.

In the summer of 2023, I set myself a goal to learn relief printing methods, specifically linocut and woodcut printing. I’ve worked in printmaking before but focused on intaglio (copper plate printing) and serigraphy (silk screen printing). I read, I watched, I learned and practiced through the fall of 2023 and into the winter. My first attempt at woodcut printing convinced me I ought to retreat to linocut which suited my inexperience with carving a lot better.

As my solo show at Gage Gallery approached my decision to help raise funds for Umbrella Society furnished me with an opportunity to do my first complete edition. The idea occurred to me that Umbrella’s focus on housing provided a ready-made theme – many icons of umbrellas forging themselves together to create the form of a house. The theme works for me on several levels. First, it’s a literal representation of what Umbrella Society does helping their clientele forge a new life. Second, the notion that “many hands make light work” relates well to the overall theme of the show – that together we, as a community, can accomplish things that we cannot do individually. Third, the layering of three plates using translucency so that each layer shows the preceding layer really appeals to my current aesthetic. Finally, I’ve had a long-time fascination with iconography – simple symbols that effectively communicate complex ideas.

I’d never done a multi-plate print before and this was my first time attempting to complete a full edition of 50 prints. There were many technical challenges I had to overcome. Registration between the plates – making sure all the edges and overlaps lined up. Inks – maxing down traditionally pigment-dense relief inks to the point that they were translucent and showed the layers before. Timing: Allowing enough time for oil-based inks to dry between printing each plate. Paper selection: finding a paper that was delicate and translucent enough to match the printing, but durable enough to survive the process.

Along the way, I made a point of documenting the process for social media. I’ve included links below to those videos.

In the end I’m pleased with this edition and thrilled to be able give all the proceeds from this project to Umbrella Society.

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Back in 1998 I was flipping through a pile of magazines in search of material for collages. It struck me that the layout of a lot of the magazine articles – even the ads – were quite beautiful. I had objections to the subjects and messages a lot of them conveyed, but otherwise I found them really compelling.

In a moment of inspiration, I took a black magic marker to them to remove all the parts I found objectionable or simply didn’t like. I found the process really empowering and also very playful. Who but a child would have the temerity to just take apart these professional pieces of style, design – propaganda – and make them their own.

At the same time, our cultural understanding of redaction in public documents – a form of censorship – plays against this naive, childlike, interaction and creates a wonderful tension I still love to this day.

See more “Redactions” here…

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My first experience with silkscreen printing was in high school, printing rude shirts off for my friends to wear on civvies day.  They were a hit in the Catholic high school I attended.

In my twenties, and working on my degree at York University, I discovered that what I really love about serigraphy is the ability to lay down broad areas of flat colour.  Introduced to the notion of monoprinting, (using printmaking techniques to produce unique pictures, but you can read more about that here.) I took to using silkscreens to making pictures through repeated prints – and partial prints – layering them in different colours.  Those early experiments resulted in pictures like the Sputnik series, which I just picked up recently to complete.  Later, I also tried using silk screens as a paint brush, layering thin cats of translucent black paint.

While I was working on the Autumn Matrix pictures, I became frustrated by my inability to scale them up and it occurred to me that perhaps monoprinting with a silkscreen might hold the solution.  So I got to work, and the Occlusion pictures are the result.

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A Little Bit of Light

Well this is a welcome bit of news. A collection of my recent work will be on display in the offices of local MLA Rob Fleming April 24-July 9.

This is a constituency office and is open to the public Monday through Friday.

Come by and take a look!

I’m grateful to Victoria Arts Council, CRD, and British Columbia Arts Council for their commitment to the arts in BC, and for providing such awesome opportunities for us to show people what we do.