Part 3 has stimulated me to experiment more. Studying the work of Betty Hahn helped me to think about using other media or ways of expressing myself. I am pleased with the pesticide series as I think that it gives a striking image as well as conveying a message about indiscriminate usage of pesticides. I plan to experiment more in this way, using brushes and sponges with the pesticide to give an even more obviously manipulated image. Seeing the Betty Hahn cyanotypes with water colour, pastel, etc., has set me thinking how I can add to my cyanotypes to give a further emphasis on the threats faced by flowers.
I think that my work is now consolidating around three themes; the collaborative Surimono series, the pesticides manipulation and the cyanotypes. I will spend the rest of the course developing these themes. I have started to look into the topic of ‘photopoetry’ which I think will be very relevant to the surimono series and I will continue this research in part 4.
A number of aspects from my Research module have influenced the images that I have created. They relate to what I have learned about Japanese art in general and Ukiyo-e woodblock prints in particular. Barrett summarises Berger’s analysis of ukiyo-e prints as “asymmetry, flatness of colors and design, simplification of line, stylization and decorative patterning” (Barrett 1993:102). I have also been influenced by my research of Aizuri woodblock prints and Surimono images and poetry.
Aizuri are monochrome blue and white woodblock prints and I noted in Assignment 2 the similarities I could see between these and cyanotypes. See Aizuri
Surimono, literally ‘printed objects’ (Surimono from Osaka and Edo 2008) are woodblock prints that combine text and images. My collaboration with a published poet has been fruitful, allowing us to produce a modern version influenced by the concept of Surimono rather than copies of the Japanese style. They differ from the original in that the image came first and the poet responded to it wheras the poem came first in traditional Japanese Surimono. We have also not followed the strict rules of Kyoka or Haiku poetry that were the case in the originals, but have produced an image that incorporates floral photograph and concise poetry.
My topic of significant importance is flowers and the threats they face. A major issue is the excessive use of pesticides (Goulson 2020). My experiments with spraying pesticides on to floral images, obviously don’t follow the Japanese naturalistic style of image but I believe that they evidence the influence of Japanese art in the “asymmetry, flatness of colors and design” that I quoted earlier from Barrett (1993:102).
I have written more extensively on these influences in my Research module Learning Log.
Barrett, M. (1993) ‘Japonisme in the West’ In: Monumenta Nipponica 48 (1) pp.101–108.
Goulson, D. (2020) Reversing the Decline of Insects. At: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/sites/default/files/2020-07/Reversing%20the%20Decline%20of%20Insects%20Report%20-EMBARGO%2008.07.20%20%282%29.pdf
Surimono from Osaka and Edo (2008) At: https://risdmuseum.org/exhibitions-events/exhibitions/surimono-osaka-and-edo (Accessed 09/07/2020).