A short film created by Marcia Ward/ImageMaker Productions, about the images in RUST
A body, an object, or a belief buried amongst a solid mass of improbable strata, the infinite in the ordinary, the diamonds of the heavens on the water surface of a deep dark well, the space between the zenith of two waves – these are some of the concerns surrounding my work at present as I move forward among the cycles of creation. An improvised recipe, an accident of alchemy that produces archetypal pigment - be the resultant color indigo, curcuma or gold; an experimental mix of media that blurs definition; a ritual invented to invade a void, a mop of shellac, a bead of body fluid – these are some of the tools of my art. Relief from the grief of our humanity through the abstraction of an unexpected slash askew the grid of everyday perspective is my aim.
“You know rust is just oxidation,
the same chemical process as fire.
Oxygen interacts with steel,
electrons drift from one element to the other.
So really, rust is a slow fire.
Isn’t that weird?
Water causes something to burn.”
- Leah Reader, Cam Girl
My work as an artist focuses on exploring beauty and transcendence in the most ordinary and mundane of things; whether cross walks on the street, barcodes, discarded tools or scrap metal.
Over the past ten years, I have arranged raw steel squares in our garden, allowing the passage of time and the elements to oxidize and transform them by stages into rust. This process created a record of natural events, which translated into over 150 digital images, subsequently organized into 5 series according to the season in which they were produced.
Working with Mike Abell and his excellent team at Nocerino Editions, archival prints in pigment-based inks were produced on a variety of grounds in signed, limited editions. The images have been printed in a variety of sizes and can be viewed/purchased individually or in a series.
Additionally, the Indigo Series became part of RUST. I had been painting with Indigo on steel simultaneously while working with the steel print images. Indigo is an ancient plant-based pigment dye produced from the Indigo plant, native to India, and it is very similar to the pigment-based inks used in the printing process which produced the prints. Coincidentally the images on the steel and Indigo pigment are both the result of the process of oxidation. As the Indigo dye remains in the liquid vat its color is chartreuse green. But the moment it is exposed to the air oxidation transforms it to the spectral hues known as Indigo, ranging from turquoise to deep purple. I came to see a connection between these two different aspects of my work as I saw the Indigo tones emerge so prominently in the images in the prints. When I saw the Spring Series which was the final series, printed on both rice paper and aluminum, I felt certain that the two bodies of work had truly informed one another.
These colorful, abstract images reveal a kind of hidden life and the activity of energies beyond our immediate perception. Like paths of Ch’i or the work of an anonymous alchemist, perhaps you will see here the cosmos, a glimpse into a mystical landscape or microbes-it’s up to you.
This body of work explores my interest in the infinite possibilities in color relationships while, simultaneously, working within self-imposed limits of very simple linear and geometric compositions based on codes found in everyday life. Managing the tension between the infinite and the restricted and between the simple and complex, the perfect and imperfect gave enormous energy to the process of creating these pieces.