Nirox Foundation – The Cradle of Humankind outside Johannesburg, South Africa

This large body of monoprints was started at the Nirox Foundation residency in The Cradle of Humankind in June 2012. I was there on a residency for 3 weeks and Bevan de Wet from the Artist Proof Studio joined me for a week armed with a portable printing press and more paper than I felt comfortable with. Earlier in the year I had worked with Bevan on 5 etchings which had generated a large number of process prints and reject prints which we decided to resuscitate for this project by using them as the background over which we would layer some of the 12 new linos that I had cut at Nirox. In addition we embarked on the ambitious task of converting 120 pieces of cut paper into unique monoprints. Our week at Nirox turned out to be only the very beginning of a collaborative process which continued through July, August and September with some prints making their way through the printing press up to six times. The challenge was to maintain a complexity of depth and mark making within the unforgiving confines of the lino plate designs without overworking them. When I cut the plates I had only a very vague idea about how the layers would interact and so each stage was filled with surprising discoveries and limp disappointment. Remarkably, I only remember two occasions where the result was such an affront to our aesthetic sensibilities that we felt we owed it to our friends and families to tear up the print.