Just before Christmas I ran a marbling workshop with my colleague Mark. The process of marbling was unpredictable and magical as the ink expanded and travelled across the surface of the water, vivid at first and then disappearing, almost invisible. At first it journeyed to the periphery of the water forming new shapes and partitions. Unpredictable configurations of spaces and forms, ephemeral and fleeting. A momentary premonition of what the permanent outcome might be.
The action of dropping the ink onto the surface became mesmerising and I found my mind considering the movement of the ink as a metaphor for change. Geographical shifts mirrored in the way that the ink glided and collided across the surface. Tectonic plates shifting and drifting, land shrinking and expanding, population explosions, migration, borders and territories. It echoed the movement of water and tides, encroaching and retreating, meeting, strong and then still. Currents and rifts, shifting sands, the transporting of silt and dirt, glaciers moving, ice melting.
When printed, the images took on both a micro and macro quality – geographical and biological. They could easily be overhead maps of land, contours, craters and canyons. Edges of difference, water and earth, air and space. The materiality of oil repelling water created the strong defined borders but on closer inspection, these were often blurry, or furred and creeping, as if ready to move again. The edges of the image, where the ink had wandered to its furthest opportunity appear like tributaries, veins, crystal formations, branches, or journeys and paths.
There is also a visual association with the human body and if the images had been in red, these connotations would have been even more explicit. The patterns and shapes reflect those found under a microscope or in a petri dish as well as cross sections of cells, bacteria and disease.
In my original imagery I used blue and yellow inks because I wanted the images to relate to landscape. I then experimented with the colour red to alter the associations. Below are some of the images and crops from the workshop.