Exploration of Three Dimensional Impressions In Contemporary Prints

By Mazlan Hj. A. Karim & A. Rahman Hj. Mohamad


In the context of the development of contemporary printmaking, refer to view Richard Noyce (2006:21) that: “Printmaking has had a long history and has rightly earned its proper place within the world of cultural achievement. The traditional skills and techniques will not be lost; indeed they will develop, and will likely take on new forms as they do so. The fascination with the creation of such forms will continue to absorb the interest of students, often to the point of obsession. But at the same time the new techniques will continue to develop at the rapid pace and will take their place alongside such traditional forms. There is likely to be a continuing cross-fertisation of ideas and fusions of technique and his will be to the good of printmaking, adding new ways of making a multiple image and strengthening those processes that already exist.”

Meanwhile, according to Alexia Tala (2009:8) is that: “The contemporary artist makes used of traditional techniques to make work which becomes 3-D objects or installations and even moving image pieces and animations. Artists have allowed themselves to leave the conventions of printmaking behind and have dared to do the unthinkable to prints or to print on unconventional surfaces, which has resulted in their work developing in different ways. When artists show work today, they do not intend to technically educate; they want to communicate their ideas and to highlight their concerns.”

Based on the statement of Richard Noyce (2006:21) and Alexia Tala (2009:8) is the technique and skill in producing traditional print will not disappear but it will grow and become a new form. In fact, changing styles and forms that are developed from the traditional methods itself without an emphasis on printmaking conventions. This situation meets reality Frederick Hartt (1976:18) which states that the change in the style of an art form is deemed as "evolutionary in a technical sense". From the point of philosophy, a change from one work to the new form by Noel Carroll (1999:129) that the change was due to the meaning or 'content', which gives way or the 'form' of a work of art. 'Content', which affect the physical or the 'form' of a work of art: “Form changes because content changes, where new content requires unprecedented, yet suitable modes of presentation. Artistic style is always transforming because new contents impels the search for new forms of articulation. And this is exactly what one would expect, if neoformalism were true”.

'Exploration’ in the context of the creation of works of art look as citation Zanita Anuar (1997:14) description of the Panel of Judges through the Young Contemporaries 1985 means "...that although the awareness and knowledge about the development and general performance are required to measure and recognize quality as a measure of exploratory . In this context, the stress should be on attitudes towards the material. This behavior suggests that a person does not accept the practices and norms accepted blindly, but always trying to own the concept or formal elements, materials, processes, etc., in order to get the look and the possibility of a statement. ". Thus, the term 'exploration’ is used in this paper is referring to the attitude of printmakers who do not accept the practices and norms of ethical principles and traditions of printmaking by Alexia Tala (2009:7) concept of "Framed and hung on the wall behind glass" In the context of this writing, exploration refers to exploration by some printmakers on materials, techniques and ideas through contemporary processes of producing art that is traditionally printed as fact. According to Gabor Peterdi (1980:245-246) explains the art prints are also some changes as other arts such as painting. Artists constantly to experiment on the potential of printing technique to another level. He stressed that: “Instead trends that started many years ago have become more sophisticated and have changed in emphasis. In printmaking, just as all the other arts, there are attempts to push the techniques beyond its limits. These attempts usually succeed only in forcing philosophical confrontation with the basic concept and definition of the printed image. When is a print not a print

anymore?” (Gabor Peterdi, 1980:244).

Contemporary Prints of Dr.Chew Teng Beng Titled 'The Redang Mermaid Want To Fly Like A Butterfly' (2010). Cast Paper techniques. Source: Courtasy of Penang Art Gallery

According to Colin Walkin (1991:167) defines 'impression' as: “An image printed on paper from an inked or un-inked block. The indentation or imprint made in paper when high pressure is used during printing". Meanwhile, Susan Lambert (2001:92) defined 'impression' is "the term used to refer to any print taken from metal, stone and wood. By association it is often used to refer to a screenprint although technically it is not an accurate description". Rosalind Ragans (2005:48) explained that “printmaking is a process in which an artist repeatedly transfers an original image from one prepared surface to another. Paper is often the surface to which the printed image is transferred. The impression created on a surface by the printing plate is called a print”. According to some earlier definitions, it is clear that the impressions that refer to the printed reference to the effects obtained through the block ormatrix printed on the paper surface. Even in terms of aesthetics, the beauty of art prints or 'the beauty of prints' is open through the qualities and braided lines on the paper medium is just the main attraction from other visual arts disciplines, as according to Bernard S. Myers (1963:189).

Typically, the print is a tradition in art prints are produced using two-dimensional printing ink through certain methods such as relief and Intaglio method. However, the impression is obtained using the mold that produces three-dimensional impression, had long been explored in the west and applied as part of the printing process. Unlike the two￾dimensional impression gained by using printing ink, three-dimensional impression can be obtained by using a medium such as plaster of Paris and handmade paper. Approaches to get the impression without ink, also known as 'blind printing' or 'gauffrage' which has been explored since the early 17th century through the Ukiyo-e Japanese prints. As an explanation Muneshige Narazaki (1966:271) about the 'blind printing' is the process of printing that uses only the pressure, without the use of color and creates a 'emboss' (kimekomi) above the surface of the paper.

Background of Study

In this study, researchers focused on the exploration of some Malaysian printmakers have been produced through the contemporary nature of the transition from two dimensions to three dimensions prints. It aims to understand the intrinsic dependence of exploring their perspectives on the process of producing contemporary prints. Researchers want to understand the three-dimensional exploration of the elements that have been undertaken and would like to know the extent to which the key features of the printmaking tradition that developed into a particular perspective or a new dimension in the context of contemporary printmaking in Malaysia as explained by Richard Noyce (2006:21) and Alexia Tala (2009:8) and Noel Carroll (1999:129) earlier. In a study being conducted now, there are two approaches explored by the some printmakers such Chew Teng Beng, Juhari Said, Kim Ng and Rosiah Md. Noor to produce three-dimensional prints through the presentation style and impression. Both types of prints are three dimensional, but in this paper, researchers present only the exploration of printmaking that explore artists to various techniques that give the impression of three-dimensional impression.

In the context of traditional printmaking, the use of paper medium is the medium that is usually used to obtain the results of the print or impression as Rosalind Ragans explanation (2005:48) that “...Paper is often the surface to which the printed image is transferred. The impression created on a surface by the printing plate is called a print.” According to some information from written sources, researchers found that the use of paper was used as the medium uniqueness of effects on the printing result. In addition, the medium of paper suitable for all methods in the tradition of relief print, Intaglio, planografi and sarigrafi. Explanation Susan Lambert (2001:6) that the paper is a medium to express the image of printing methods, such as relief, and planographic Intaglio: “...it appears on the paper like a mirror image in reverse of how it appears on the printing surface.” He said that in the process of preparing a traditional, produced by a manufacturer of paper by hand and the limited size depending on the size of the mold used. The use of machines for processing paper created only in 1798 that “The paper was formed on a continuous woven wire mesh its width limited only by that of the machine. Laid paper was first manufactured by machine in 1825.” (Susan Lambert, 2001:17)

From the point of aesthetics, as according to Bernard S. Myers (1963:189) notes that the media is among the three main stages that determine 'the beauty of prints‟. The beauty of art is displayed through the print qualities and braided lines on the paper medium is just the main attraction than other visual art disciplines. However, based on the views and notes from some of the research leaders in the field of printmaking, such as notes SW Hayter and Gabor Peterdi that other paper, a medium such as plaster of Paris and paper pulp also has good potential to obtain the print result or impression. According to a statement S.W. Hayter (1966:134) that the use of plaster of paris media started in 1931 in the studio Atelier 17, Paris: “In A Treatise on Etching by Maxime Francois Antoine Lalanne (1827-86), translated from the second French edition by S.R. Koehler and published by Estes and Lauriat in Boston Mass., 1880, a method is described of making a print in plaster of Paris. In Atelier 17 since 1931 we have elaborated upon this method. It has the advantage of showing the relief of the lines even more clearly than a print on paper, and it also provides a means of making a print without a press.” According to the statement of SW Hayter above, there are two advantages of using the medium of plaster of Paris against the paper. The good news is referring to the effects on revenue through the print or impression by relief method was clearly affordable and also easier printing process that does not involve the 'press'. The researcher believes, artists can save costs because the price of a machine 'press' is a bit high. While the advantages of plaster over the paper as a medium for the publication also received positive reviews from Una E. Johnson (1956:35) that “First described by the French artist Lalance in the mid-19th century, it is method of making a printed impression without a press or paper. The engraved or etched line appears in more brilliant relief imprinted in plaster than it does on paper.”

Method using the medium of plaster of Paris explained by Una E. Johnson (1956:35) as 'plaster print'. Gabor Peterdi (1980: xxxiii) defines the method of 'plaster print': “It can be either a print made by casting plaster on an inked intaglio plate, or relief print made from an inked plaster plate”. Gabor Peterdi (1980:186) explains that the result is printed by means of a 'plaster proof' without exciting colors for shadows and lighting combination of elements that are formed through the timbulan nature of the work and is an attempt to succeed in the era of the 1930's: “The plaster-casting method was developed by Studio Seventeen in the early thirties in Paris. I am not sure who originated the idea (many people worked at it during the same period), but at that time John Ferren made the most extensive experimentation with it and produced a whole series of plaster casts that he exhibited at the Pierre Matisse Galleries with great success. Ferren engraved plates especially for the casting, with the idea of further developing the plaster proof with carving and color”. (Gabor Peterdi, 1980:xxxiii)

In the West through Gabor Peterdi note, found some kind of experimental work has documented in his use of plaster of Paris as the successor to the medium of paper. The nature of three-dimensional works are produced in the 'arising' or 'relief' if the use of plaster of Paris and the paper. Which works out of plaster of Paris as the work of John Ferren produced in 1937 and the work of Stanley William Hayter in 1941. According to Gabor Peterdi (1980:183) again, if the plate is Intaglio engraving or more deep, interesting effects of engraving or can be produced through the use of 'plaster of Paris‟ which is poured over the plate Intaglio earlier: “It is possible to make a very good proof of an intaglio plate by plaster casting.” From the fact that Gabor Peterdi, researchers found that the work of these print plaster technique called 'proof' and not the result of printing or 'impression' as often. The term 'proof' of this reference by Colin Walklin definition (1991:169) as a trial or a printout of a piece of 'a trial impression of' the first time printed from the blocks by the artist for the purpose of review and further improve any part of the painter found it yet satisfied.

According to Bahaman Hashim (1996: no page), there are individuals who are interested in producing „handmade paper‟ and printed images on them through various methods such as lithographs and etching. Thus, the paper is part of an important component in the process of printing paper. In some cases, it is also the image of the paper (the paper is the image) means the artist has to make handmade paper as a unique medium, or the work of printing and are not mere pieces of paper used for printed images on them. Handmade paper today, when poured into the „high-relief ' at carving stone or wood to form an impression or print the results of a three-dimensional and appears as an icon of quality. Similarly, when the paper is still wet is poured into a three-dimensional mold (such as references open „bahulu‟ cake) or a block affixed to various objects collage to produce quality prints as three-dimensional sculpture.

Apart from the use of plaster is poured into the iron block in the method of Intaglio, a soft paper or paper pulp can also emboss effects when pressed on wooden blocks by means relief. The researcher refers to Rosemary Simmons & Katie Clemson (1988:28-29) states that the use of paper pulp to produce a new form of printing paper and is an advanced development in printmaking. Form of printed paper they mean is produced either through a block of wood or use a mold that will form the results of reference of the paper is soft. The technique is called the 'cast paper pulp,' and the income statement as follows: “Pulp can be poured on to relief blocks cut in lino or wood and allows to form deeply embossed three-dimensional sheets. Any shape of sheet can be made by inventing special moulds. Dye can be added to the pulp and various coloured pulps poured on to a mould to make up a multi-coloured sheet. Pulp can be dribbled over a mould to form an open trellis-like pattern. Such cast paper can be an end in itself or it can be a base for the addition of printed work.” (Rosemary Simmons & Katie Clemson, 1988:130).

Therefore, it can be understood that the production of paper is called a soft or paper pulp is not only made handmade paper to print images on it. Paper pulp, also be used as an art print with a three-dimensional shape that results when poured over a block of wood or use a mould. Emboss element that is combined with traditional techniques: “Some interesting prints have ever been produced from formed paper pulp made in three-dimensional moulds combined with more conventional printmaking techniques.” (Rosemary Simmons & Katie Clemson, 1988:109). In addition to the medium of plaster of Paris, the use of other mediums such as canvas to get the print in the printing process has been started since the 1960s as a statement Alexia Tala (2009:7) that “back in the sixties different disciplines started merging. Remarkable artists such as Richard Hamilton and Robert Raushenberg used silkcreen on canvases, Andy Warhol also made canvases on a massive scale and 3-D objects like the famous Brillo pad boxes, and Kiki Smith printed on cloth and made soft sculpture with it”.

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Exploration of Three Dimensional Impressions
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