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'FOVEAL' - go with the flow

Eventually, the engraving is done; it’s time to give the artwork its wings. All the experimentation in the world cannot guarantee what happens next… To some degree, you can manipulate how the 2-part rust effect paint behaves. I wanted a tonal shift dark at the edge to a lighter inner glow, but essentially the change from black to earthy browns becomes a natural - and so less predictable - process. The mantra becomes “just go with the flow”! The tell-tale rusty hues begin almost immediately after the copper salts solution is applied… I could tweak the process by spraying water now and then too, getting radically different effects depending on droplet size and timing. I’m working with the d

'FOVEAL' - flashbacks

Spinning the dish was a really useful method for making concentric marks. The white gesso, the darker ash paint layers and final black rust effect paint were all applied and sanded back this way at some stage. Holding brush or sandpaper in one hand and spinning the dish with the other... trying to avoid the speed wobbles, having flashbacks to ridiculous attempts at keeping clay centred on the high school potting wheel! I wanted marks on the dish that described its form, much like directional lines in a drawing that show 3D form. 2 directions; concentric and radial. The engraving would follow the radial, starting from the centre and working outwards…

'FOVEAL' - stripped back

This is the dish being prepared in the mobile spray booth...ironically using paint designed to prevent rust! At this stripped back stage, the dish is no longer functional. It is still an ‘object’, not yet pretending to be ‘art’, low not high. I think part of the attraction to using such familiar everyday things (such as flooring, doors and other hardware from the domestic realm) is the challenge of alluding to something much greater, the ‘spiritual’ even, from something so familiar and mundane. Turning mere upcycling into an alchemy of materials; ash into paint, dish into art. It’s important to have the viewer recognise the original item though, for it to be only thinly disguised. The screw

If Durer had a Dremel...

Once I finally get to the stage of engraving, the brain goes into what might be called 'mindful meditation'. I'm prone to overplan and overthink things, perhaps, so its a relief to just do it! But before I do, I do more tests, samples, experiments... just to be sure :) With the first marks, it's complete focus (you can't uncut: zone out too much and there's no Ctrl Z) but at least part of the mind is free to wander... off down the well trodden path into the past and the old-world art of engraving. I've only seen reproductions of the German artist Durer's meticulous engravings, but his precision and attention to detail is mind-blowing. And all by hand. No power tools. In keeping with the i

'FOVEAL': rays of light

This is the satellite dish during its makeover for the Bunbury Biennale. Turning the object into art justified my hoarding. But the dish was also the perfect ‘found object’: I wanted to follow up the recent Control Point artworks with a new piece that warped the flat image into something sculptural. Thinking about the dual role of the dish as both a receiver and reflector of information became my light-bulb moment: here was a ‘readymade’ curved picture plane on which to mirror the image of the ash-cloud… This brought it all back to how we see. I remember reading that the ancient Greeks thought we saw things by means of our eyes projecting rays onto an object. We know now with smug hindsig

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