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Archive > Tanya Myshkin, Propter amorem matris: drypoints and wood engravings

Exhibition from 3-16 October 2014

Matris means "...of the Mother". These works concern the effects of the love of the Mother , the tenderness and sensitivity in a Mother's body, in the life of the skin and what is underneath. Propter amorem matris shows a soft tender older female figure turned aside, and it shows the passage of time over the skin and around the edges like a horizon and a set of hills, and the terrain in between. It is the passage of life over the earth. The technique used is the drypoint, where the picture is drawn directly onto the copper sheet using a sharp burin. The shadows and depth in the background are called plate tone and do not exist as incised lines but are created during the printing process by leaving ink on the plate and differ with every print. The printing life of the drypoint is short but the first prints produce a soft quality and gentleness unique to this technique. The drawings are strained short restless poses done live form an artist's model. Life from hour to hour. They were to a certain extent preparatory to the wood engraving and drypoints but also stand alone as works in themselves. They were drawn largely in one sitting of about 40 minutes each and then finished in several hours each post model. Abstract Night is the only work which shows a being without the love of a Mother. It is night and the time when night thoughts are most solitary. The figure fills the void to the edges and crushes its own breast and turns this way and that, because it cannot find what it has never had. The process is wood engraving, and is similar to a woodcut in technique with the difference that the surface engraved is cut across the section of the trunk of the tree rather then lengthwise down the tree as in a woodcut. The wood is Red gum (eucalytpus camaldulensis) and is thus very close grained which permits theoretically a finer line than the woodcut but also presents a smaller working surface, being restricted as it is to the width of the tree only. The circumference and bark of the actual size appear as the outline of the print. It is printed by hand. The cutting takes many months and is a slow painstaking and concentrated process.