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  • Writer's pictureChiara

Dark hours

Whereas the Skies portion of this project arose from my habit of looking up to find perspective and beauty, this portion of the project acknowledges and reflects the darkness. Whereas my torn pages book and Domestic work rely on the subtlety of white on white, the present work investigates variations of black. It utilises the gelli plate's capacity to form layers of marks and explores the randomness/abstraction side of the creative tension discussed in my WIL tutorial. I chose a scale which is readily portable, subverting the concept of the Book of Hours in the Christian tradition. My initial intention was to bind the pages together.

I began with the 9:16 ratio, adopted from my mobile phone pictures and the whole overwhelming experience of life through the screen which has dominated the practice of "sheltering in place". For this part of the project I measured and tore dozens of pieces of Somerset white paper 9 cm by 16 cm. I used paper offcuts from previous work and rejected prints. Then I started to add black. For the early layers I used the gelli plate and various black acrylic paints.

The concept of the palimpsest is clearly related to this work, with its layering and obscuring of underlying images and marks

Sometimes I used feathers or scrim as stencils, but I found that degree of detail was unnecessary. I also used some simple torn paper strips as stencils. My early experiments with black straight from the tube gave little variation, so I tried mixing primary colours. This achieved some ugly dark browns.

I was relatively discouraged at this point, but was reminded that perhaps ugly brown is as good an analogy for the darker aspects of our experience as any. I was also reminded of the work of Ad Reinhardt with his use of barely perceptible nuances of black and negation of narrative or emotional content and imagery. I do not claim any ultimate significance or purity for these works. Rather than being universal philosophical statements, they are intended as fragments of dark experiences: representing moments and shadows, but without revealing their narrative content.

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