Posts Tagged ‘structures’

libris awards

May 11, 2013




Opening tonight at Artspace Mackay in North Queensland is the annual Libris Awards for artist books.  I hear this is the biggest show yet with work from over 90 artists selected. The work I have in the show is titled “Bone Sequence II”, and is of course the second book of this type that I have made from a sequence of prints taken directly from an animal bone.  A third is slowly underway.





How do you print from bone you ask?  In essence, I treat the bone as if it was a wood engraving block.  Careful sanding with fine grade carborundum paper creates a polished flat surface, acting as a section through the bone and revealing detailed intricate structures within.  I don’t need to do any further shaping or carving, I’m just there to reveal what is already present.  This flat surface then has printers ink applied with a roller, and an impression transferred to paper.  Again, my work with wood engraving told me how to go about this in a way that would capture the greatest possible detail with the greatest possible clarity.  The process is repeated many times, creating a sequence of ‘samples’, which coincidentally turns the whole bone into dust.  Collated into a book, these images, one per page, act as a model or analogue for the real object now destroyed in the process.  In the above image you see the strong black image printed on translucent paper, showing the receding shadowy hints of the subsequent pages beneath.  Perhaps this process is also an analogue for human culture and society.  The more ‘advanced’ we become, the more our ability to obtain and collate knowledge of the world increases, the quicker we destroy it.


Artspace Mackay Libris Awards will be showing until June 30 2013.


pic of the day

July 11, 2012


Anderdalen National Park, on the island of Senja, Norway.


prints from bone

July 10, 2011

Preparations for Preserved Disintegrations continues at pace. Some of the works in the show will feature a new set of prints from bone. Not pictures of bones, but the bone itself used as the relief printing matrix. There is a lot of time spent preparing the bone to make it suitable to print from, and to get clear detailed prints, but I don’t actually carve an image into the bone – the natural form and structure is the image.

Here is the ‘block’ ready to print. What was initially one single bone (a sheep’s pelvis I think) was glued onto a wooden block. It has been ground and sanded down through repeated processes of sanding and printing numerous layers. The narrow bit of wood screwed onto the block forms part of my registration system.

In front here are prints constructed from all of those layers printed one on top of the other – and hence the need for accurate registration. They are hand printed on a yellowy buff Iwaki paper. Barely visible in the background are the book pages printed on white kozo. For the books there is only one impression per page, and so the act of turning the pages mimics the process of gradually sanding the bone down, revealing a modified image at each layer. While only one layer is clearly visible at a time, I’ve chosen a paper that is very thin and a little translucent so you get a sense of the shifting structure laying just below the page which impels the viewer to keep turning and gradually reveal the entire form.

more shelter structures

June 3, 2011

This temporary structure was found in the park beside Turner Primary School.  The litter of hats, shoes and other items recently discarded and forgotten confirmed that it was constructed by young students.

The authorship of this rather more sturdy structure is less certain.  Found on the edges of Canberra Nature Park, very close to residential areas and yet through the orientation of roads and paths and topography is a little pocket that few would visit.  Did someone actually camp here? (it wouldn’t be the first instance of semi permanent residence on Black Mountain that has slipped under the radar).  Teenagers expending their physical and creative energies happily out of sight?  The site doesn’t appear to have been recently occupied and seems little changed to when I first discovered it two years ago.  Whatever the origins, it sits quietly hunkered down in the woodland, proof of the desire to build structures from and within the environment.


December 14, 2010

It has been a while since I posted some ‘found art’. Much of what I include under this heading is possibly not really intended to be ‘art’, but then that is what I find interesting about it really. The fact that once you start looking, you will find evidence left all over the place of people’s creative acts. anonymous, spontaneous, not leading to material or financial benefits – embodying the true creative spirit. Of course sometimes you have to look a little outside the well worn places, but you don’t usually have to go far.

The substantial structure above can be found in Canberra Nature Park – a collection of small nature reserves strategically scattered within Canberra’s planned urban structure. Mostly they occupy the hills and ridges, and are crisscrossed by a dense network of tracks and trails.  This structure has been built on one of the few hill tops not crossed by tracks, and only those exploring away from the paths would find it.

library sticks

September 16, 2010

I was walking past the National Library recently when I saw a pile of sticks – I think maybe the parks workers had been preparing to mow the grass – but hadn’t gotten beyond collecting the sticks.  It was Sunday, it was sunny, I was on my way somewhere but it wasn’t urgent, so I thought I’d better do something with that pile of sticks.   A woven  tent-like structure is what emerged.



stick dome

August 4, 2010

I found this wonderful land art construction on a recent walk in Canberra Nature Park. It is quite large and sturdily made. I’ve no idea who by – I’ve asked a couple of people I know who I thought were possible candidates, but no. The partial dome, made entirely of Eucalypt sticks, is sited amongst the branches of a large fallen tree. This area, at the base of Mt. Majura, has a lot of dead trees through it. Big old Eucalypts. I suspect years of over grazing, first by sheep and more recently by kangaroos and rabbits, has left the soil compacted and less able to absorb moisture. With prolonged drought over the last 10 years, even these hardy native trees have succumbed.

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