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Microscopic marine life forms. Mezzotints and etchings by J. Furst, 2013-2014.

  • Copus, Jane Furst, 1944-
Date
[2013-2015]
Reference
2476912i
  • Pictures

About this work

Description

"The present series of intaglio prints (hand made artist's prints) are based on studies of microscopic marine life forms; animal and plant. They are inspired by the work of the nineteenth century biologist Ernst Haeckel. Some of the forms are the exoskeletons of unicellular animals, others are radiolarian and diatoms, yet others might be small star fish. I often choose images which suggest a metaphor for some other idea as in the etching Queen & King. In some of the etchings I make reference to geometry and numbering. In plant forms and small marine creatures it is possible to see basic geometry such as are found in the Platonic solids; cube, tetrahedron, octahedron, icosahedron & dodecahedron. Also basic divisions; 3, 4, 5, 6 are clearly visble"-- Jane Furst, accompanying sheet

Artist's statement: "In the Marine Machine series I am selecting images from Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen which suggests metaphors for things from the human domain. In the ten prints from this 1st folio there is a story emerging about a microscopic Queen and King who are creating life forms around them to house and fill their domain which would be ever expanding to keep them company. When looking at small and microscopic sea creatures from Ernst Haeckel's drawings or indeed later photographically observed discoveries, there are a myriad of bewildering variations but only some of them jump out at me from the page and ask to be drawn again for my printmaking; perhaps to tell the story:

"Embryo - The beginning of a creature; a spiral, both fascinating and disturbing ; Heart - Love, pulsating and radiating but enveloping ; Sea chimes - Bells ring out in celebration at the birth; embellishment, decoration ; Pumps (x 2) - Transparent 'machines' which instigate movement and refresh the ambience ; Knight - The shielded protector; hidden warrior, something flexible but hard ; Queen & King - Primitive hierarchy, the lords, the instigators, the arbitrators ; Royal vessels - Masculine and feminine principles, sacred containers, precious secrets

"I find, while working on this idea, I see forms in nature emerge and recur to express poetic themes and images which are familiar to us. When I was developing my botanical paintings of seed pods in the 1990s, I often observed this phenomenon. There is, however, another important motivation and that is the amazing potential for something so small as a seed pod or a microscopic creature to have a monumental presence. The title Marine Machine came from the first mezzotint I did which shows two sea cucumbers overlapping like cogs in a machine. The meaning behind this for me is that the myriad of sea life activity, both large and minuscule, is the mechanism which supports also terrestrial life. At the fundamental level it is those billions and trillions of tiny living things, both animal and vegetable, which inhabit the seas, who are our first ancestors. They have existed for millions of years. The question is; as we evolved from this, is there some echo memory in our brains of where we have come from? How can it be that, for example, a particular specimen of Radiolarian or foraminifera resembles a medieval helmet yet another resembles the headwear of a Japanese samurai?"

Publication/Creation

[Rochester, Kent] : Medway Fine Printers, [2013-2015]

Physical description

1 portfolio (10 prints) : mezzotints and etchings with aquatint, printed in colours ; various sizes

Lettering

Jane Furst

Contents

1 "Queen" (Radiolaria). Etching with aquatint printed in rose madder and stiff black, platemark 11.4 x 8.2 cm. 2014
2 "Marine machine II: embryo" (Foraminifera). Mezzotint printed in magenta and stiff black, platemark 10.7 x 9.4 cm. 2013
3 "Marine machine II: heart" (Foraminifera). Mezzotint printed in magenta and stiff black, platemark 10.7 x 10.8 cm. 2014-2015
4 "Marine machine III: sea chimes 1" (sea-cucumbers, related to sea-urchins and starfish). Mezzotint printed in rose madder and stiff black, platemark 7.9 x 10.3 cm. 2013
5 "Marine machine III: sea chimes 2" (sea-cucumbers, related to sea-urchins and starfish). Mezzotint printed in magenta and stiff black, platemark 7.9 x 10.3 cm. 2013
6 "Marine machine II: pump 1" (sea-cucumbers, thuroidea). Mezzotint printed in stiff black, thalo blue and thalo green, platemark 9.8 x 10.1 cm. 2013
7 "Marine machine IV: pump 2" (sea-cucumbers, thuroidea). Mezzotint printed in magenta and stiff black, platemark 9.8 x 9.8 cm. 2013
8 "Marine machine II: king" (Radiolaria). Etching with aquatint printed in stiff black, magenta and raw sienna, platemark 11.4 x 9.7 cm. 2014
9 "Marine machine II: knight" (Foraminifera). Mezzotint printed in rose madder and stiff black, platemark 11.7 x 9.4 cm. 2013
10 "Marine machine V: royal vessels" (star corals). Mezzotint printed in Payne's grey and rose madder, platemark 9.5 x 6.6 cm and 9.5 x 6.6 cm. Dec. 2014

Creator/production credits

"I started exploring etching three years ago [in 2007], first with Ana Villen in Granada then at Morley College, London under Dorothy Wight and her husband Marc Balakjian. They are master print makers (editioning Lucien Freud, Auerbach and others). They happen by good chance to specialise also in mezzotint. I found this medium to be particularly what I was looking for as it gives a profound darkness from which images can mysteriously emerge."--website of Jane Furst, 2015

Reference

Wellcome Library no. 2476912i

Terms of use

Copyright Jane Furst 2013-2014. Jane Furst has granted a non-exclusive licence to the Wellcome Library to reproduce these prints and to authorise others to reproduce them in accordance with a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence. The moral rights of Jane Furst are affirmed

Type/Technique

Languages

  • English


Holdings

  • portfolio and ten prints in eleven impressions

Where to find it

  • portfolio and 10 prints

    Location

    Closed stores

    Access

    Open
  • 1 "Queen" (Radiolaria). Etching with aquatint printed in rose madder and stiff black, platemark 11.4 x 8.2 cm. 2014

    Location

    Closed stores

    Access

    Open
  • 2 "Marine machine II: embryo" (Foraminifera). Mezzotint printed in magenta and stiff black, platemark 10.7 x 9.4 cm. 2013

    Location

    Closed stores

    Access

    Open
  • 3 "Marine machine II: heart" (Foraminifera). Mezzotint printed in magenta and stiff black, platemark 10.7 x 10.8 cm. 2014

    Location

    Closed stores

    Access

    Open
  • 4 "Marine machine III: sea chimes 1" (sea-cucumbers, related to sea-urchins and starfish). Mezzotint printed in rose madder and stiff black, platemark 7.9 x 10.3 cm. 2013

    Location

    Closed stores

    Access

    Open

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