This paper seeks to respond to how as print makers we may be open to unexpected events within making, in the process-driven habituation of printmaking methods and practices. In a digital age of predictive systems of visualisation, copying, image transfer and repetition being open to chance is investigated. By demonstrating that responding to repetitive techniques of drawing and printmaking, acceptance and adoption of unintended, but fortuitous material opportunities may offer up rewarding creative encounters. Critical to the discourse presented will be the consideration of historic and contemporary approaches to print that reveal, through printmaking processes that printmakers can be responsive to material and aesthetic opportunities ‘thrown up’ during their methods and practices.
The adoption of chance occurrences tends toward unique individual prints that might be termed ‘VE’ (Varied Editions) rather than repeatable, numbered limited editions. Historically, states of prints from the same plate reflect the maker’s desire to build and rebuild, try, test and experiment with mark making within the making of an individual image. ‘The term state is neutral to the question of completeness since it refers only to alterations in the plate without evaluating these changes in any relation to aesthetic finish.’ (1) Adoption of chance may lead to new states of printed images. Through the balance, recognition and application of valuable repetitive processes and material chance, this paper will present the learning that thought, intention and the expectancy of what might transpire are interrelated. It will propose that in recognising complex objectives the artist can be open and responsive to what the repetitive processes of making may present, during the acts of print creation, and in doing so lay new parameters for future encounters. The paper will be presented in the context of current research into ‘Contemporary Drawn and Printed Portraiture’.
(1) Parshall, P.W. Sell, S. and Brodie, J. 2001. The unfinished print. National Gallery of Art Washington.