Love Stories, Part 3
(co-pilots and trajectories)
Visions of a Quasi-Expatriate
Love Stories, Part 2
Handle Like Eggs
(See also The Accident Event Register and A Clearing of Measures in Exhibitions.)
In my studio, I keep a stack of newsprint under my press. I’ve cycled and recycled this stack of newsprint since the year 2000 when I first got the press. I use the sheets as backing paper, allowing them to catch the random extra ink from outside of the image area when I print. The marks are simply the byproducts of the printing process; newsprint is commonly a throw-away sheet used to protect the press from getting inky.
Many of these sheets of newsprint now have multiple layers of “accidental” printing on them. Imagery from various bodies of my work is layered over one another. Colors and marks have built up on both sides of the sheets as they’ve been shuffled and restacked under the press over the years. They are now incidental compositions – some look like Modernist masterpieces (or the work of Richard Tuttle).
I’m fascinated by the visual history and unintentional compositions on these sheets of newsprint. They hold a record of my practice and the personal events of my studio. They archive the marginal, extraneous, residual, accidental – the unexalted and unremarkable. I often think of this record in contrast to more public, remarkable events and records that have run parallel in time to the activities of my studio. For instance, while I was printing the red flowers or memorial portraits that are ghosted on some sheets of newsprint, the world was witnessing a popular uprising in the Arab world, a global economic crisis, wars and natural disasters. As a substrate, newsprint has traditionally carried this kind of information – it is naturally journalistic.
Over the last couple of years, I have experimented with overprinting on the newsprint with photographic imagery from news sources. Then, after printing a relevant news image on the newsprint, I put it back in the stack under the press to be used again.
I’m interested in the metaphor of the accident, of randomness and chance, and in the way beauty and structure exist without intention and are perhaps the natural counterbalance and site for the return from chaos. I’m also interested in the accidental archive as a series of breadcrumbs, a forensic diary that marks its own random journey into the 21st century.
Also see the exhibition The Accident at the Martin Wong Gallery at San Francisco State University.