mining (photo) resources

Sophie Privé "Dune 5" 2011, acrylic and graphite on canvas, 24 x 24"

I hope you enjoy this super deluxe blog posting that highlights the work of Sophie Privé and Tim Laurin – with – count ‘em – 2 videos!

SOPHIE PRIVÉ: RECENT PAINTINGS is narrative suite of works that depict beautifully rendered figures that float in a landscape of relationships and conversations that permeate daily life.

Sophie Privé takes hundreds of photos of each of her subjects – images of family and friends during daily encounters.  She selects the subjects of her works from several different photographs and edits them by removing the figures from their original contexts.  She manipulates the scale and angle of the figures and then re-combines them as they might appear to her in a dream – as combinations of random fragments.

The narrative structure of the oneiric [dreaming] experience becomes my pattern in my recent work, in the way the content and purpose of dreams are not necessarily logical, indeed, dreams are a succession of images and ideas that show the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur. I could refer to surrealist movement, which is an absence of all control exercised by reason, however I very consciously choose each figurative element. Obviously, we know that images can have multiple meanings depending on its context, so I can play with my pictures and link scenes together to give different directions to the sequence of events described in the narrative. In this way I can freely depict my emotions about our current world situation.

Natasha visiting "Dune 3" in the gallery. She is featured in this piece.

There are various subtexts running through the paintings.  The inclusion of animal figures in several of the works points to an examination of human relationships with the environment.  Figures wear camouflage as a fashion statement in several the pieces but Privé notes that many people are required to wear it as part of their duties.  These references allow her to quietly comment on current world issues.

Privé intentionally uses flat colour in a purely abstract sense in the backgrounds of the works.

The subjects are removed out of their original photographic context by the application of flat surfaced acrylic, color blotches and superposed lines that ends up structuring the composition. I also add figurative elements that interfere with the reading of the work. These intrusions play on different levels of language by creating a constant effect of back-and-forth between the sensitive surface of the work and its narrative content. These elements may suggest narrative shifts by demanding to the viewer adjustments to the new associations generated.

Video of installation at the Telephone Booth Gallery: This video also contains two images of Tim Laurin’s new series “Torn Realities” from the back room gallery (not visible on our website).
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Tim Laurin: A Discussion of Process

Tim Laurin, “Grain” 2011, Monotype, 24 x 24"

Tim Laurin begins this monotype process by selecting and printing a photograph from hundreds and hundreds of iPhone images he has taken while driving to and from his studio.  In the this case, he printed an image of a grain elevator (see left).

He transfers the pigment from the printed photograph onto translucent Japanese tissue.  By passing the photograph, the Japanese tissue and solution-soaked newsprint through the etching press, the essence of the photograph becomes visible when the pigments that make up the paper photograph are impregnated into the delicate tissue.

Next, Laurin adds washes of colour by staining the tissue with diluted printing inks (i.e. pink, yellow), responding directly to the “ghost image” of the landscape.

He then freely imagines what has prevented him from experiencing this landscape at the moment the photo was taken.  It is from this “daydreaming” that he constructs another image by etching a metal plate that will eventually be printed on top of the ink-stained photo tissue.  In this case, several printed plates and stainings occurred before he was happy with the results.

The circular dot patterns in “Grain” were created by running a saw blade and a decorative brass element through the press between metal plates.  The scratches left in the plate hold ink and ultimately become printed on the paper. The bottom left of the image contains a sugar-lift.  This involves the an application of sugar syrup on a plate, which is left to dry. The syrup is then covered with wax and warmed, with the sugar lifting the wax from the plate.  The area is then treated with an acid that bites into the plate, which in turn holds ink and is eventually printed on the tissue.

The final step in the creation of Laurin’s monotypes is to paste the tissue print onto a backing paper with the aid of archival wheat paste and the printing press.  This final pass through the press lays down the last layer of ink – at the same time permanently adhering the tissue, with all its layered imagery, onto the support paper.  As this process is extremely difficult to replicate, the works are created as monotypes.

Video of Tim Laurin discussing his working process during the Opening Reception at the gallery (I apologize for the sound quality – rowdy gallery goers in the background):

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