Saturday, October 17, 2009
Works on Paper-
I have created a body of work that combines images that I print using an Epson 1280 ink jet printer & painting. Most of the imagery depict photographs of battle scarred landscapes & maps from the World War 1 time period. The images feature sweeping scenes of vast desolate open spaces that vanish into the distance, giving the images a prominent horizon line & sky. Working on top of the ink jet printed images with water-based gouache & soil; smear & smudge the black and white ink jet print. Giving the impression of a hand painted postcard. Colors become heightened in un-expecdated & un-photographic ways. The water from the paint releases various colors of the die used in the ink jet printing process. The printed photographic blacks & grays morph into soft blues & greens with a halo like effects around the edges. Colored gouache mixes with the ink softening the hard edge of the printed image. The paint texture is thin and allowed to puddle and blotch. Layering paint with soil & iron powder flattens the photographic depth of the original image. Soil creates flat blocks of natural browns tan hue. Iron powder adds rich color details of different shades of reddish rust colors.
The images that I am working with come from are the battlefield around Verdun France. During 1916-17 the armies of France and Germany tried again and again to break each other. Alistair Horne in What price of Glory sights “Verdun was the First World War in microcosm; an intensification of all its horrors and glories, courage and futility.” The area was mercilessly shelled. Hills changed elevation by several meters; the topsoil was blown away so that nothing will ever grow there again. Large sectors where declared a zone rouge a dangerous “no go” area for human habitation. Much of this area was simply planted over with fast growing pine trees in the 1920’s. It was an effort to both hide and reclaim the vast wasteland of unburied soldiers, toxic soil, & unexploded munitions. A total of nine villages were forever erased. Most importantly it is the final resting ground for close to one million combatants.
I highly recommend the book by Alistair Horne What price of Glory Verdun 1916
This website is a vast resource of period photos and documents culled from original books, magazines & newspapers.