Surface Scan Screen

Charlotte Richards September 2017

Between finishing a BA and beginning an MA in Fine Art, Charlotte Richards, student and Printmaking Fellow at the University of Northampton, is making a show at Intercession Gallery, Surface Scan Screen. What is it when we print things and begin to question the very moment of the making - when our idea meets the printing-process and becomes a new surface translated through this machine or that technology? Printmaking is transformative with a required submission to the unknown darkness at its centre. And what does that mean? Richards has been scanning and layering, opening that enigma, expanding and collapsing it and showing us the surfaces on the way through her finely pitched and elegant investigations.




Charlotte Richards Artist Statement September 2017

My current practice is about the printmaking process, and how the image is portrayed through this process. Researching about the multiple processes, and artwork around printmaking allowed me to not only question/research the image, but also explore: the copy, the surface, the screen and how print is exhibited. I acquired a portable handheld scanner; the scanner naturally distorts the image and I turned those scans into screen prints and photo etchings. Using a scanner allows me to interpret surfaces and retranslate them through the mechanical printing process of screen print. This takes a 3-dimensional object, flattens it within a scanner, transfers it onto a computer and then separates the image into four layers. The finale image is then printed flat and separated again onto four screens and finally printed layer by layer, almost building up the surface to make it 3D again. This printing process is known as a CMYK, as you print yellow, magenta, cyan and then black one ontop of the other. I make large scale CMYK screen prints, my most recent work is a 90cm in width and 245.6cm in length print, running from the wall onto the floor titled “sixteen”. When you look closer at the print, you can see the individual colour layers and the “dot matrix” when you stand back you can see, and indeed “scan”, the image as a whole.

Not every print is the same or comes out exactly how you expect it to, even a cmyk which is printed layer on top of layer you can get unique “flaws”, making a print become individual. This is something I like to celebrate within my practice. These “flaws” add to the scanners distortion of the image and so the traditional process of print with the modern technology combine and work together, evolving as the image is being printed. In the past I have printed onto unconventional surfaces, such as walls and floors, while looking at new ways to exhibit my work. I also try to think about how a viewer may interpret the work as well as how they could possibly interact with it. Two prints I have made “Twelve” and “Zero” are both photo-etchings: “Twelve” was repeated multiple times and I occasionally rotated the plate so as to have multiple outcomes. The image used mimics the beam of light which passes across the bed of a flatbed scanner. This creates a seemingly never-ending print and Like “Sixteen”, “Twelve” can be viewed close up, and then further away. Close up you can see intricate details of the image itself. Further back, you see the line of prints and how they mirror each other, reflecting and so possibly going on forever, “scanning” around the whole room. “Zero” is a polaroid transfer, scanned using a flatbed scanner and turned into a photo-etching. A different way of scanning rather than scanning a 3D surface like “sixteen” and “Twelve”, I scanned a flat 2D image. I wanted to take the distortion I had made by transferring the polaroid image and turning that into a print, rather than allowing the scanner to distort it naturally, like the hand-held scanner does.

I have recently graduated from The University of Northampton, studying a BA fine Art course. I have worked within printmaking for the whole 3 years of the course and am about to do the MA Fine art course and a print fellowship, both at The University of Northampton.