Saturday, 5 March 2011

"CRISIS" My submission for 2011 Searle Prize (from Wilfred Owen Poem)


  1. A brief history of this project (which actually took days) life drawing and research into the 1st World War - involves; 2 vinyl cuts and one lino-cut. One is pressed at college (in a purposefully different colour) and the other two, hand burnished using modified oil colour at home. It was a tough job rolling with such a thin roller (is this just bad workman whinges?...) Still, there is a marked difference between the home burnished figure and the one I did at college as might be apparent from the pics. I open screened a piece of mount board which was great fun and used off cuts for the collaged items on the flanking panels.

    I inked up on a shelf from my fridge (which I fortunately cleaned and replaced before husband and daughter returned from their day out). All the work was done in my studio (ie on an old 1930's kitchen table in my kitchen).

    The "barbed wire" is actually fake (wasn't risking my fingers or the ire of the judges should it get past the first adjudication). I was left with a general dilemma of some of the glue and necessary tape showing slightly - but this was easily solved with wire wool (used partly for a smokey-detrituslike effect as if "caught" on the wire). The wording is letter pressed and took most of a morning to get right. Love the deep emboss and slight over-inking as if mass-produced.

    I managed to not read the rules (they changed from last year) dragging the entire installation in to college in a specially made portfolio (which equally took me ages to construct). Fortunately an angel-in-disguise and fellow Printmaking student kindly took a photo of it for me and I submitted it on disk (via the reprographics most excellent assistance) with a colour photo. It had a green cast owing to the print studios flourescent lighting - but I was in no position to choose! Got the whole thing in a couple of hours before closing date. Phew!

  2. and the artist's statement..(enjoyed writing this as much as i did creating the work!)

    Wilfred Owen’s poem, which inspired this work, propels us into the immediacy, inevitability and grinding futility of death, as encountered in The Great War. Here is the “eye of the storm” amid bloody violence, that eerie moment of stillness before final oblivion. The central panel of this hybrid triptych alludes to this fleeting second. It is a precarious moment of transcendence. This is crisis in stasis. Fractured frames behind the panels suggest engulfing gas, tangled wire and the mire of death. Garlands of wire allude to a crown of thorns and the final snare for many who “went over the top”. I have purposefully used deeper, brighter reds for the flanking panels which are hand-tinted in gold paint. The reference to gold alludes ironically to altar-pieces or glittering icons and the richer colours to illusion, to the perceived past or to the possible future. The foremost panel of the nameless and rankless soldier is printed in a duller maroon than its flanking companions. This, together with the lack of gold embellishment, reinforces stark reality. Trudging with his gun yoked, as if to Calvary, over his shoulders, the figure refers to a cross and sacrifice as echoed throughout the composition.

  3. This is wonderful Natania. Good luck with the award. xx

  4. Bless you Liza. Going a bit mad generally - what with "Inked" our interim show starting next week:-)

  5. yeah well, I'll probably dissemble this. Fun whilst it lasted;-)