Arthur Boyd, Collagraphs
Indra Deigan, Woodcuts
Arthur Boyd continued to enjoy experimenting and exploring new techniques and mediums throughout his life. In November 1989 Boyd was introduced to collagraphs by the printmaker Tony Deigan at his Suffolk cottage in England. On returning to Australia in the early 1990’s Boyd had the opportunity to work with Deigan in this new medium.
Collagraph printing is a technique where the surface of the plate is built up using collage techniques combining various materials such as string, gesso, PVA and textured card. These are placed on a plate of cardboard or wood to create a textured design. The plate is inked with a roller to pick up the top surface textures and printed as a relief print. It can also be used to create an intaglio print by rubbing ink into the surface and wiping away the highest areas.
Tony Deigan’s wife, Indra, was also a printmaker and in 1993 she invited Boyd to collaborate on an artist’s book she was making for her honours degree at Canberra School of Art. At Boyd’s suggestion an Indonesian story was chosen as the subject matter of the book; thus continuing his lifetime interest in mythology but in this case he moved away from his European heritage to that of a South East Asian tradition.
Indra Deigan chose the story of Sangkuriang and said: ‘It originated in West Java in the country around Bandung where I was brought up. This region…is a place surrounded by volcanically formed mountains, one of which is Tangkuban Perahu inspiring the legend told here.’
Working on the book gave Boyd the opportunity to further explore collagraph printing with the printmaker Tony Deigan. The rich colours and textures which are possible using collagraphs lent themselves to Boyd’s expressive imagery. These images were superbly juxtaposed against Deigan’s subtle woodblock prints.
Indra Deigan explained the process of making Sangkuriang: ‘Once the collagraph plates were completed I made woodcut images in response to, and to complement the strong colour and fluent markmaking of Arthur Boyd. As a further contrast I chose semi-transparent paper, so allowing both images to harmoniously act as one when seen as overlay or as a ghost image on the left page when viewing the collagraph.’
Arthur Boyd said about working on the book: ‘…It has been a particular pleasure … as I have in the process of working with Indra discovered areas of graphic work which enable me to continue my interest in this new field.’
The collagraphs of Sangkuriang demonstrate Boyd’s great skill at meeting the challenges of a new medium. The prints included within these pages illustrate how Boyd mastered the dramatic potential of collagraphs.
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