It is always surprises me how we can keep generating "new" ideas and ways of working. Sometimes, I am influenced by the content of work by other artists but sometimes it's the media and new processes used that gets me excited.
Recently, I have been working with carbon in the form of charcoal from trees in a bush fire and the idea of carbon capture . However, it was a series of black/grey graphite sculptural works at the Asia Pacific Triennial that got me exploring other forms of carbon. These works by Ayesha Sultana were highly polished, minimalist graphite works that gave off a lustrous metallic sheen.
As she explains -"Instead of reading into an image or work of art, I slowly began to discover what ‘looking’ could be. Drawing is useful and concentrated in this manner in that I’m able, to an extent, to assimilate experience by recording myself looking. It was a gradual but deliberate process of discarding the narrative content in the work."
Even though her abstract approach and concepts behind her work, differ greatly from mine, I was captivated by how she would have made these surfaces. This resulted in a process of graphite (pencil) rubbings on different papers to create surfaces completely new to me. Once I had different surfaces to play with I started looking for ideas that overlapped with the physical qualities of the papers.
This has resulted in a series of "black" books using graphite and carbon paper exploring different themes. The different layers can be accessed by opening flaps.
"Scratching the Surface" is a Black book that uses layered pages with openings that can be open and closed. The densely black pages have been scratched, cut, damaged or pierced to suggest surfaces like indigenous skin with the interior content peeping through. These inner layers are from images for an earlier book on Uluru and consist of symbols and references to early maps and geographical features.