I am in Rhoden, Germany for one month as an artist in residence at the Beisinghoff Printmaking Residency. I am getting settled in and went for a long walk today to look and listen. My plan is to make new prints, possibly an artist book, that will use and respond to the materials I find here. The presses here are all hand inking only, so I also want to challenge myself to loosen my hand and experiment with monoprints, and layers.
:: found words ::
:: sign fence ::
:: composing stick ::
This week a couple studio visits of note. One from Amze Emmons, a founder of Printeresting, and all around delightful printmaker, painter, collaborator, and person. His visit was posted on the site, you can read the article and see pictures here.
And yesterday, I had a visit from Amanda D'Amico and students from The University of the Arts MFA Book Arts and Printmaking Program, great people with a great Tumblr (go there to meet them and see their work). As usual, I forgot to take a picture in the moment and only have the spread of work I put out to show. I had a wonderful time talking with them and hope they stay in touch.
:: the spread of work ::
And I continue to unpack my work from my residency and look at it, starting to think about what it means and where it will take me. I recently had a breakthrough regarding themes in my work, that much of it has to do with translation/mistranslation, and the connection between language and culture.
I had a strange experience while in Iceland. On the way to the residency, I took a long bus ride, exhausted and lacking sleep. In those moments of dozing, I would hear the Icelandic passengers talking to each other and for brief moments, I thought I understood them, and then it would disappear.
I grew up in a bilingual home and I've been losing my second language for years. With the loss of language, I gained the uncanny feeling of distance from parts of myself. In a way, I'm performing a personal archaeology, a unearthing and cataloguing of idiosyncratic symbols, sometimes fragmented, meanings lost. I'm making my dictionary.
:: Dictionary ::
I'm starting to unpack my work from Iceland and photograph it. It was a strange and exciting experience to see it for the first time back in the states, in my studio. The light was so different. These are small paintings, about 7" x 11", all paintings, all untitled for now. Gouache, acrylic, graphite, and gesso.
We are walking together,
the alder and the oak.
a desert of lapwings
under our coats.
Back to the beginning,
back to the seabirds and foam.
The bull slides across the pitch ocean floor
All the names are gone
White lepiota grows
our mossy hearts - the grind of planets -
songs of tallow and bone.
One foot in the water
- two far travelers -
Setting fires along the road.
- Marianne Dages, 2013
I'm starting to feel that the end of this residency is looming. Trying to keep simple days and take in the lighting and textures of the landscape, and though they don't figure in my pictures prominently, the people, I'm going to miss the people that have made me feel so welcome here. I'm also looking for the arctic fox...so arctic fox, if you're reading this, please come out and hi. Thank you. :)
Time is passing quickly here in Iceland. I wrote a post about the Jan Voss show here in Siglufjordur and it was posted on Printeresting, you can read it here. Also, while I'm here, I had a couple of letterpress prints in the .918 show at Samford University pictures of their reception are up here. They also made printed a catalogue, chock full of great print work. I also have a couple pieces at the Making IT exhibition at The University of the Arts, a juried exhibition of work by recent alumni. More exciting projects in the works. For now, eating, sleeping, drawing, walking, listening to podcasts and having a lovely time.
On a clear crisp day, I got to visit The Herring Era Museum, a beautifully curated, crafted, award winning museum that tells the story of the herring industry in Iceland. The museum is actually three separate buildings, these images are all from "The Salting Station." The third floor of the building remained untouched, including the "brakki," sleeping quarters for dozens of girls who worked in packing herring, and the office of the herring speculator. Örlygur Kristfinnsson, artist and director of the museum, is also one of the founders of the Herhúsið residency.
:: looking out on the old piers ::
Afternoon walk today, the wind picked up and made my ears hurt. It's now whistling all around, the clouds are moving unbelievably fast. Looking, listening, picking up things. Painting bones. Making little scratches. Happy.
:: treasure! I hid it and am coming back for it ::
:: "orange peel fungus," or Aleuria aurantia ::
:: tangled threads and nets ::
:: seaweed ::
:: collecting ::
:: little messages ::
:: Herhusid house ::
Today was bright and clear. Working on a big drawing, and little silverpoint drawings. Drawing shapes I am drawn to, that hold significance and memory for me. Fish scales, nets, animal heads, bows, pyramids, and bones. Old shapes. Thinking about the sea. Feeling a little under the weather, but went for a walk to my favorite place, the beach behind the industrial buildings, and the dump, where the waves break.
"On the sea, sea, sea, where the gods sit."
:: favorite place ::
It is snowing today, when I woke up the mountains were clouded in white. Yesterday, I started making little studies in silverpoint, pencil, and gouache. Grass, coastlines, mountain shapes, muted colors, layers of white. Today, I started a large drawing on the wall. This evening, I sat around a table with the director of the residency and others and I listened to and sang along to Icelandic folk songs. It was amazing.
:: snowy mountain ::
:: the studio ::
:: the studio, with big paper on the wall ::
:: little study, silverpoint, graphite, and gouache ::
:: little studies ::
First impressions of this island. There is so much texture, everywhere, I don't know if it's the air but there's a clarity and detail in the landscape that is overwhelming. The air smells like salt and earth. It's a beautiful smell that is something forgotten. The feeling of something forgotten. Monolithic shapes, black against white. White bone, white snow, black and white birds, black rocks, black bread. The grass that leans against itself, like sleeping heads.