Lava Field

Letterpress Lava Field
Letterpress Lava Field

Fall is reluctant to arrive in Portland.

The days may be shorter ~ we’re nearly blanketed in darkness by 7:30 these days ~ but the sun keeps warming the grasses and ripening the tomatoes. We make up for late, rainy springs and cool, cloudy summers with blazing autumns that allow the green to linger on trees and extend our sitting and sunning weather well into October.

The angle of the late summer sun makes me long for the desert. I’m willing to put off putting the garden to bed another month, wanting to travel east toward the great basin to look at strange rock formations that burst out of sandy hills. Oregonians are lucky in that way, we have the desert to turn to when we need to clear our minds, if we’re so inclined.

This summer I’ve been working with figurative rocks in my studio. Beginning with my show in June, 

Tuf

, and leading up to my latest work currently at 

23 Sandy Gallery

 in Portland, 

Lava Field

.

Part of my ongoing investigation into place, particularly the high desert of Central Oregon, 

Lava Field

 renders the undulating lava rock of the landscape in two-dimensions, as perhaps experienced by outsiders. However, within the cracks and fissures time and history are contained. Geological scale and personal history intertwine, leaving indelible footprints on an outwardly sterile landscape.

Rocks Scan
Rocks Scan

These rocks were formed by scanning the collagraph stencils I used in my

Tuf

prints, and creating photopolymer plates for printing on the letterpress. This allowed me to create multiple iterations of the rock shapes in multiple sizes, and to print a much greater quantity. In this process I lost some of the character of the original collagraph, its texture and density, but this flattening is interesting to me, and something I might play with further.

In truth, I love the silliness of these objects. I haven't quite figured out what they are or what they mean to me yet. But I love their objectness, their 2D/3Dness, and their implied gravity. I've been thinking about their commodification. They're not currently for sale because I'm not yet sure if that's their role to play, to be covetable objects, or if they're supposed to live at an arms length on a gallery pedestal.

Letterpress Lava Rock
Letterpress Lava Rock

You can visit

23 Sandy Gallery

to see INKED! Contemporary Northwest Letterpress until October 13, and you can view the

online gallery by clicking here

.