John Bergers 1972 perspective describes how women come ‘to consider the surveyor and surveyed’ which forms her sense of identity, ‘The surveyor in herself is male: the surveyed female’ (Berger, 1972, pp.46-47). Although four decades have passed, these power imbalances are still relevant today, which challenges my way of looking at images when finding ways to represent the female body.
This experiment is in response to Berger’s surveyor and surveyed using found images from 1965 English Vogue. Themes emerge as I create a mono screen-print image to take it further I scanned it, isolated areas of the image, scaled them up and printed digitally onto fine art paper, then took them back through the printing press using opaque inks to conceal parts of the image, extracting fragments from the original, creating new conversations and directions for the images to go in, weaving theory and practice together.
Looking instinctively and selecting images that resonate with my ideas. I intentionally construct the image playfully and away from the thinking place in response to the woman watching herself being watched.
Surveyor and surveyed iteration one: Scaled up digital prints onto fine art paper, combining the hand-crafted and digital by looking for new qualities teasing out themes about concealing and new spaces for conversation and interpretation.
Two questions arise from this, am I taking on the role of the surveyor when looking at and selecting images to use? or am I identifying myself with the person who is being surveyed? I see myself as an outsider and my position I think is more about stimulating the dialogue to see where it leads, how I identify myself within this is to be unravelled.
Scaled up and printed digitally onto fine art paper.
Back through the printing press using opaque inks to conceal parts of the image.
Fabric: Here I consider physical restraint or enablement through clothing.
As part of my masters research this visual experimentation is examines digital found images applied across different surfaces creating new atmospheres for the appropriated image to inhabit. The internal conversation with this found image directs the focus to the body and dress enabling the concealed identity to expand and invite interpretations beyond the original image.
Speaking on different surfaces: Observing how ink, surface and materials can relate and inform the image. I test out laser engraving onto thin leather hard clay which failed because the clay dried under the heat of the laser requiring me to excavate the dusty surface in an attempt to recover the image.
The use of free embroidery on top of my prints makes a connection to female identity and roles, and a material connection to clothing construction combining making by hand and by machine.
The excess of the loose threads suspend the transparent artefact, I play with overlaying and draping as it moves closer to sitting upon the skin on the body.
Screen-printed onto polyester screen mesh and free embroidered.
The excess of the loose threads suspend the transparent artefact.
Screen-print on Hahnemuhle and machine sewn.
By hand and machine.
Screen-print on aluminium.
Failed test: Laser engraved into leather hard clay.
Laser engraved into leather hard clay.
As part of my masters research this visual experimentation is examines digital found images applied across different surfaces creating new atmospheres for the appropriated image to inhabit. Interweaving theory and practice.
I place my apron over my head with my gloves, glasses and face mask close by. Using a sugar-lift solution I brush the marks directly upon the zinc plate, (timing and flow between steps is important) and watching the chemical substances as they interact with surface and atmosphere .
After the sugar solution has been lifted off in hot water the plate is ready to dip into the harsh nitric acid and I waft away unwanted air bubbles lightly with a goose feather. Careful timing ensures the acid actively bites into the exposed areas of the zinc plate, corroding the space where the first brushed marks once inhabited.
Inking up begins; working it evenly over the surface and polishing up to a mirror finish, a delicate balance is struck between protecting the zinc surface from scratches and lifting the ink out of the incised marks, this labour intensive process is repetitive and makes parts of my body ache.
The damp, blotted paper is now ready to receive the etched image through the printing press (see figure 4). With the right conditions set up, this sequence of printing actions of inking up, wiping back, polishing up and printing continues until the edition is complete.
Limited Edition 5. To buy prints visit the online shop.
Grey and gold embellish the surface of the paper, these spontaneous small prints are light hearted and spontaneous.
Work in Process
Work in process is a series of colourful abstract prints created for an exhibition. The edition is based three shapes, which emerged during her early experimental work specifically for this project
This series of prints explore colour, pattern, texture and tone. Sue started making the composition using paper cuts and drawn marks on true grain film. She had the technical challenge of working out how to reproduce these outcomes for the screen-printing process.
Sue pushed her selected materials and teased out new methods and techniques finding ways to play and investigate her mark making. This body of work is ongoing and will continue into her next project, which will be about interpreting the female form.
No. 6 is a series of eight individual mono screen prints. Each print contains the same shapes, colours, textures and tone which are all layered differently and each unique screen print contains to ten colours or more.
The eight mono screen prints gave Sue the opportunity to observe how colours overlay and react to the paper and inks underneath. At a midway point, an opaque white was applied to block out previously applied colours making way for new spaces to emerge.
Sue likes to work in this way and give herself room to manoeuvre alongside making her carefully constructed screen-prints.
To view individual prints and to buy please visit the online shop.
Before creating this abstract piece, Sue set out challenging herself to think less and make more to see where it would take her. It was a process of unlearning and navigating new directions away from the constraints of her previous experience working commercially as a graphic designer.
Sue set out to acknowledge and more importantly trust in her mark making and the value of a playful expression. Sue feels throughout this enriching journey she has become the student and teacher, which revealed new internal dialogues and dimensions within her creative work.
A collaborative project with photographer Monika Fischbein. Sue and Monika set out to explore the female form, the way Yulie moved was their source and inspiration and they were interested her body language and they captured this during a photo-shoot in the studio.
Sue further experimented with the photographs and developed the imagery by composing two postures together digitally as a bitmap composition. She hand screen-printed them using gloss and matt inks. The flashes of primary colour seen in the prints are an expression of energy.
Sue enjoys working with the immediacy of technology combined with the tactile step-by-step approach to printmaking, which brings about an irregular pace, which she adapts to at every stage of making.
Seeing Double started with a photo shoot in collaboration with photographer Jon Cooney. Sue was looking to create some fashion inspired imagery, which she could later manipulate and take into the printmaking process. Sue's interest in the female form is on-going and coupled with her curiosity about how clothes communicate messages, form identities and reinforce beliefs for individuals or groups.
She composed this mono screen print using spontaneous and painterly with bold blocks of colour with a digital halftone photographic image overlayed on top.
This line drawing evolved from the Seeing Double project. Sue created various quick sketches waiting for one illustration to emerge that would work effectively as a repeat. The colour palette is muted, which is a move away from the usual bright colour palette Sue would use. Sue will consider how this pattern work when applied to fabrics and this work is ongoing.
This piece of mark making was the result of creative playtime and delving deeper into the technical aspects of reproducing handmade marks for screen-printing.
Sue wanted to discover how to reach subtle tonal quality using true-grain which is a textured drafting film this surface expands new possibilities for tonal variety in screen printing. She combined this with working out optimum exposure times to achieve the desired tonal range for reproducing the marks for the screen.
Part of her investigation was testing different materials such as charcoal, conté crayons, cut out paper and inks. It was a process of trial and error, and Sue finds the most significant rewards in printmaking emerge from unintentional things and as part of her creative practice she allows herself to have an open dialogue with her work to see what happens.
Sumi showcases a culmination of Sue's artistic, commercial and professional competences. The creative challenge was to launch a conceptual and predominately visual fashion brand from concept to completion. She has combined digital image making with handcrafted print material; this project included the production and art direction of a professional photo-shoot.
Sue champions a co-existence of print and digital where neither is superior; she combines the immediacy of the web with the tactile experience of print, aiming to stimulate new ways to engage across online and physical worlds. She generates ideas by blending techniques in moving image, photography, typography, printmaking, laser-cutting and digital design.
To talk about a commissions or collaboration please get in touch.