Saturday, February 14, 2015

Absence and Presence

February 2015
2-plate blockprint
Two 3.75" circles on 11"x15" paper

Almost one year ago I was asked to participate in a print-maker's response to the 2007 car-bombing of Al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad. As a landscape based artist this has been a difficult process from the start. After more than six months, with many ideas and sketches being tossed around that were far removed from my current body of work, I returned to the landscape. After a lot of thought I stayed true to my artistic practice and incorporated three themes that I have been working with recently; Rorschach landscapes, small circular prints and the presence of old factories and other signs of industrial decay within the natural world.

The first breakthrough occurred when I made the connection between the title of the show, Absence and Presence, and a series of Rorschach landscape prints that I have returned to from time to time. The duality of the mirror-image landscapes aided my thought process on a more conceptual level. What changed was the introduction of time within the mirror image. Adding to this was the presence of the two circular images on one block. It seemed as if I was looking through a set of binoculars on an unfolding scene of violence.

In the end this has been a profoundly meaningful, if not difficult process, one that took much longer than I could have anticipated. What has changed for me is that I found a vehicle to express my frustration and horror about violence in our lives. In the blink of an eye some unfortunate act of violence can change our lives forever, whether you are an artist, bookseller or simply an innocent bystander. It takes but a second to change everything.


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