After having discussed with my tutor my plan not to include my cyanotype work in my Harena Now exhibitions, I decided to take another look at artists who have used the process in the past for their nature-related shows.
One of these is Michelle Rozic, an Associate Professor of Art, Printmaking Area Coordinator and Visual Arts Graduate Coordinator at California State University.
Rozic works across a number of print-making/photographic disciplines but my attention has focussed on her 2014 work, Tidelands.
In her website blog, Rozic writes about the project as follows:
My main project this year is a series uniting the high desert and the ocean, two ecologies difficult for humans to inhabit without altering the native landscape. Remnants of peoples interaction with these locations appear in the form of detritus, either tumbled on the beach shore or bleached and rusted by the desert sun.
In Tidelands, rocks are wrapped with cyanotype prints of litter and ocean flora washed up near the Santa Monica Pier, a Los Angeles landmark. Rocks gathered from the Llano Del Rio Colony site, a failed alternative community whose ruins are located in the high desert north of Los Angeles, are printed on with imagery from plastic bags and wrappers. The ocean and desert are united in this work, two distant yet similar physical locations without potable water (2014).
In Fig. 1 we can see that Rozic has painted the cyanotype solution directly on to the rock and used found litter to burn on an imprint, while Fig. 2 shows the rock wrapped in cyanotype canvas imprinted with beach flora.
I’m intrigued by the joining of the desert to the ocean. There is something eerie about how the deserted desert community that could not sustain itself from the desert aligns to how our demand for sand, which we can not take from the desert for building materials, may impact on our ability to sustain our world as we know it.
In Fig. 3 below you can just see the collection of cyanotype rocks situated at the abandoned Llano Del Rio colony, and a closer view in Fig. 4.
This style of display is something I had first wanted for own work – to create something that could be displayed outside on the beach, where it is made and where the sand I use to make the images is found. I toyed with ideas of creating my work on glass so it would literally be made from sand and so that it could eventually be recycled. This is still an idea I hope to achieve one day.
But my Harena Now work has travelled down two distinct roads – one was cyanotype, the other non-fixed lumen.
I feel that because over the past few years in particular the cyanotype process has become very popular I don’t want to be seen as another Riepenhoff.
I appreciate there are myriad artists working with this process, and many, such as myself, work at the beach and have done for years, but for my MA I want to feel as if I’m creating something a little more my own. Non-fixed lumen is not a particularly used process as most people wish to fix the original image for longevity. This creates for me a sense of making work that is fresh.
This doesn’t mean I won’t include some new cyanotype work in my July show at the Fish Factory, where I will have more room for an installation piece and I am now considering one or two new concepts.
Rozic has given me faith in my decision to hang my work using a magnetic system. In Fig. 5 we can see how she has used this technique to display the cyanotype on metal, while also including the cyanotype rocks.
I’m taken with the outside coming inside and I may go back to my previous thoughts around using a deckchair within my show, coupled with floor prints of sand – more sketches to come on that one.
In my last 1-2-1 with my module leader Wendy, she mentioned thinking about more dynamic ways to display work to “avoid monotony”. I also don’t wan’t to do something that feels gimmicky – if I am to do something more than hang my work, I want it to feel connected to the process and to the story behind the images.
But I now feel as though a definitive plan is formulating for my July show.
Figures 1- 5: Rozic, Michelle. 2013-14. Tidelands. Available at: http://michellerozic.com/portfolio-items/tidelands/ [accessed May 27, 2018].
Rozic, Michelle. michellerozic.com. Available at: http://michellerozic.com/ [accessed May 27, 2018].