Self Portrait #37
I’ve reimagined the print as having a life off the wall, beyond the single-sided edition and the bound book, on an alternative printing surface as well as having a relationship with the body. My intention was to develop a screenprinted work that steps away from the traditional formats and vocabulary of print media; instead it adopts and represents those of sculpture, whilst maintaining the integrity of the printing process. This means that in creating this work, I intentionally decided to work towards establishing a three dimensional, modular visual language through repetition in image as well as in considering the print as a unique object and as sculpture. The double-sided print comes out of the wall, looking to fill the space it’s in.
To begin tackling such a challenge, I decided to set a main constraint for myself: to use a 36” x 130’ long roll of 7.5 mil archival tyvek. I immediately began dealing with scale and technical process. In order to even begin putting down ink, I had to first consider the logistical aspects of printing the roll in the studio. I had to establish a DIY, make-shift system of printing, in order to feed the roll across the vacuum table and under the large screen. In working with this scale and this system, I became more and more aware of my tracked movements around the roll. Hours in the studio passed by as I found myself mentally reciting my movements through what became a unique mantra for each layer of the print. Suddenly, the scale of my work demanded a relationship with my body; it demanded that my body work like a machine, a machine with technical and physical limits that became more evident with time. Concerns with the product gave way to performing the process; the final printed work becomes a record of a series of both conscious and intuitive decisions and action in the environment of the studio.
This large-scale print is ultimately an homage to my past work: the self portrait.. In contemplating the psychological theories of the curated self and the images we put together to represent our outward identities, I looked towards social media for the source of this “endless” collage. The screenprinted image on the roll is digitally sourced and digitally manipulated. I traced the contours of my face across my profile photos on Facebook and then created a repeating, webbed image. The second layer, a gradient of colored fragments, is made up of negative spaces converted and superimposed as positive spaces, extracted from the two layers it weaves itself through. Color is also important in most of my work. I extracted the color for the layers from the same photographs. Again, working digitally, I sampled the skin tones of my face across the multiple profile photographs, created different color groups out of the sampling and narrowed down four final colors for work.