In this short film gallery artist Christopher P. Wood discusses the processes involved in making his surreal monoprints at the Goldmark Atelier.
Ever since a hugely successful 10-year retrospective show at the Goldmark Gallery in 2007, Wood has worked closely with the gallery and our print atelier over the past few years and in 2012 we were delighted to be able to represent him fully. His work straddles an imaginary line between reality and a magical other world inhabited by strange creatures and arcane symbols.
(above) 'Day Trip'; (below) 'Landscape with Tree' (left) and 'Mountain Leap' (right)
A monoprint is a unique impression - 'mono' meaning 'one' - made by applying ink to a flat surface and transferring it to paper. It excludes one of the usual main purposes of printmaking, which is to obtain multiple copies of a single image, but the marks and textures obtained are characteristically different from those drawn or painted directly onto paper.
(above) 'Viewing'; (below) <'Big Cat'
Part of the attraction of making monoprints is the immediacy of the medium. Images can be built up relatively quickly on the plate by applying ink directly with brushes, rollers, and palette knives and removing excess ink with cloths. Because the ink does not sink into the plastic or metal sheet, unlike painting onto paper or canvas, it can be easily manipulated or moved around once applied, opening up possibilities of new textures and contrasts of surfaces.
(above) details from 'Night Patrol'
These unusual textures combine perfectly with Wood's imagery, in which recognisable objects, figures, animals and landscapes are transformed or juxtaposed to make otherworldly compositions. Once printed, these monoprints can also be worked up further with hand-applied colour or additional collage elements, making the process highly adaptive to the artist's whim.
(above) 'Little Devil'; (below) 'Big Head' (left) and 'Big Foot' (right)
As Wood describes, the speed of the printing and the flexibility of the medium convey the spontaneity I enjoy when working directly in my studio sketchbooks, where ideas flow freely and new possibilities abound.
(above) 'Alone a Top'; (below) <'World Cup'
Throughout this series of monoprints, recurring characters and repeated symbols - bird and cat-men, old trees and purple mounatians - suggest an underlying narrative, some deeper connection between each image; but Wood leaves enough room for the viewer's imagination to make its own story from these disparate parts.
One of our most frequent visitors to the Goldmark Atelier, Wood's constant innovation in the world of printmaking and its many different media offers a breath of fresh air.