A couple of posts ago in Fragments of a Life I commented on the traces we leave behind, or the marks we make on the landscape. I have a body of work, mostly etchings, that form a study on 'The Art of Language' which deals with the theme of how we as humans found ways to make our mark in the way of language. Initially carved into rock or painted on rock, long before the advent of writing as we know it today, we liked to let others know that 'I have been here' and placed my mark.
I wish I could write as eloquently as Stephen Fry who recently produced a programme for BBC on Planet Word, or Patti Roberts-Pizzuto who in one of her posts wrote so beautifully about her dailies and how the purpose was not to be rigid as "the point is to commemorate the day, in a way .... to notice it, to make a note of it .... to leave a trace." I am always envious of those artist's who create visually but also have the gift of words.
Without those words, I often leave it to my work to say what it is I am trying to say. I have included in this post, photographs of a couple of etchings from 'The Art of Language' which I hope show how I feel about us leaving behind traces of ourselves on the landscape. For some of us that is quite literal, but for many it is just the sense that we have lived and left, and that if you look closely enough you will find evidence that we have been.
|'Woman in the Landscape' - etching by Susan Bowers (detail)|
|'Woman in the Landscape'|
|'Man in the Landscape' - etching by Susan Bowers (detail)|
|'Man in the Landscape'|
The etchings are actually coupled with embossings - more marks! As a drawer from childhood, the change from drawing into mark making has been quite profound and I think was brought about when I began practicing the art of etching. My earlier etchings were overladen with fine line and cross hatching, very representational of what I was drawing as most of the old etching masters used to produce by way of illustration used for print. However, as I began to let go the structure of drawing and tried to suggest what lay below the surface, I realised that beautiful marks could be made that seemed to sing far more vibrantly that well executed lines. Etching on copper in particular gives rise to beautiful marks and that combined with the plate tone which could be manipulated on the plate gave rise to a very different approach for me.