David Krut Projects is pleased to present Cruise at Krut 2020, a solo exhibition of unique paper collages and sculptures from the studio of Wilma Cruise, shown alongside recently completed editions from the David Krut Workshop (DKW).
Wilma Cruise’s interaction with the David Krut Workshop (DKW) began in 2007, resulting in her solo exhibition, Split NY|LON|JHB. She has worked collaboratively with the DKW printers on three major projects: in 2010, 2015 and currently. Cruise has contributed to David Krut Publishing titles, including an essay titled Reading Ceramics, which can be found in Messages and Meaning which provides insight into the MTN Art Collection. Furthermore, Cruise has been part of numerous group and solo exhibitions with David Krut Projects (DKP) and an engaging relationship continues.
It was in January of 2015 that Cruise and Master Printer, Jillian Ross, joined forces to produce four new prints. This opportunity in the workshop allowed for an exploration of a variety of printmaking techniques including drypoint on copper plate and chine-collé with tea-stained Japanese paper. The images that resulted are both visually and technically complex. The collaboration in 2015 led to Cruise’s solo exhibition, Advice From A Caterpillar at David Krut Projects.
Three of the four prints, namely Word, The Queen and The End Game, formed a series of work showcased at Advice From A Caterpillar. The fourth, The All-Knowing Pig, stood independently. In this exhibition Cruise explored the human animal relationship and asks the ultimately ethical question, “What happens if the animals were in charge and treated us as we treated them?”
In Cruise’s work, animals feature as our living and feeling counterparts or totems, their lives and deaths are imaged with the same…urgency with which Cruise images human beings. Both intertwined and apart from humans, animals in Cruise’s work appear as witnesses to the precariousness of being in the world. Tangled with the fragility of human beings, animals matter (Schoeman, 2009:12).
The Queen is part of a body of work which explores human-animal relationships, asking: “what happens if the animals were in charge and treated us as we treat them?” For Cruise, this question relates specifically in this series to “baboon politics” in the Western Cape where man and animal compete for space and resources.
The edition of the plate for Word was partially printed in 2015, and finally completed in mid-2020 by Printer Kim-Lee Loggenberg at David Krut Workshop, Arts on Main, which prompted us to re-look at this fascinating body of work.
For Cruise, this question relates broadly to the human-animal relationship, and its many complex facets, and also specifically to baboon politics in the Western Cape of South Africa, where man and animal compete for space and resources.
In the print, The End Game, a pair of baboons contemplate the conundrum of the end of the world as they know it. For this image Cruise makes use of tea-stained gampi. The gampi is brushed with a tea mixture until it is just the right colour, a warm deep ochre-like tone. The chine is then painted with an acrylic wash, glued and cut into the shape of the baboon figure on the plate and then adhered.
The image was printed using Gamblin Portland Black etching ink and the gampi was adhered during printing. Gampi was stained using Five Roses Tea and an acrylic wash made from Grumbacher and Iris Fine Acrylic paints
In The All-Knowing Pig, the subject, like the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland, smiles out of her frame sealed in her hermetic world of ‘pigness’. It is a world closed to us human animals who have no access to her particular epistemology.
To create The All-Knowing Pig Cruise used multiple drypoint tools as well as sandpaper to add tonal depth. Cruise blends heavy mark making with areas of delicacy. The purple bow tie and yellow eye are highlighted in the image with a colourful chine-collé cut-out.
The image was printed using Gamblin Portland Black etching ink and the purple and yellow papers are glued with Methyl cellulose and were adhered during printing.
Drypoint prints are created by scratching a drawing into a metal plate with a needle or other sharp tool. This technique allows the greatest freedom of line, from the most delicate hairline to the heaviest gash. In drypoint the burr is not scraped away from the surface but stays on the surface of the plate to print a velvety cloud of ink until it is worn away by repeated printings.
When a drypoint needle or other engraving tool is used to draw directly into a metal plate, small, fine pieces of metal are raised up on both sides of the scored line. This burr holds additional ink during the printing process and gives the lines a velvety or fuzzy texture.
Printing with the use of chine-collé is a technique in which an image is transferred to a thin sheet of paper and that thin sheet is bonded to a heavier backing sheet as it passes through the press. The term also refers to mounting paper or other collage materials such as cloth to a backing sheet.
The process of removing excess ink off the surface of a plate to reveal the image made on the matrix
In printmaking, hand painting refers either to the addition of marks to a print once it has already been printed, or it refers to the addition of printer’s ink with a paint brush to a plate that has been wiped down and is ready to print. Hand-painting lends a unique quality to each work in an edition as the marks have been made on each individual print separately.
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