Plate 96

(56) Melanie Olde – Perfect Imperfect

(1179) Catherine James – Sputnik

About this Artwork
Price: $550 AUD

I was fascinated by the layers of symmetry both within the insect eggs and the photographer’s composition – it shows nature’s algorithms and a human hand’s need for similar order. The closer you look, though, the more you realise that these eggs are not quite perfect, not quite the identical to the others of their species. These differences are little perfections of their own; their differences make them perfect.
I looked at the encyclopedia page for several days and researched other insect eggs. I was struck by the iridescent quality that many of them had. I wanted to give these egg-jewels back some colour and life, in a brighter-than-life scheme.
The two elements of the composition reflect the perfect/imperfectness of nature. The representation on the left gives a new ‘altered life’ to the image. The right element represents the magnified glitches in nature: the glorious imperfections.
The image is created by coating washi paper with metallic foil, then transfer printing a digital image. I then sliced the paper into thin strips, reconstructing them as a weft in a compound weave structure. The green silk threads are hand-dyed and are an acknowledgement of the beauty which insects give us, with the mottled colour representing nourishing vegetation for the re-imagined eggs.
While dealing with the stresses and changes 2020 brought, this project provided a much-needed refocus on the other-worldly microscopic universe, around us but often overlooked.

About Melanie

My professional artistic and weaving experience of almost twenty years has consisted of artistic practice, business, research and teaching.
My work is continually driven by curiosity and new learning. I independently research cellular structures for form, function and array and enjoy interpreting these in artworks, including biomimetic woven cloth. Leaves and grasses offer many biomimetic opportunities to create woven fabrics with unusual properties. Most recently I have been exploring the polygonal patterns of the cells of these surfaces in flat-woven cloth and mimicking 3-dimensional packing in multilayered textiles. In addition to the physical structures of the fabric, I investigate embedded electronics to expand the functionality of these fabrics. As I continue to experiment, I enjoy increasing my knowledge of natural and engineered structures.
I work on both manual and computerised looms shaft in my Canberra, and find benefits to both systems. I have studied and exhibited both nationally and internationally.

Link to Melanie’s Art Aviso profile HERE

Melanie was provided the following page from Newnes’ Pictorial Knowledge Encyclopedia:

Volume 9
On things that interest you and me.
Through the Microscope

About this Artwork
Price: 75 EUR 
The shape of the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic, with its many spikes, has become ubiquitous in the global media over the past year. Ubiquitous also is the increasingly frenetic coverage of vaccines, their development and deployment. It was difficult to look at the microscope photograph of insect eggs and not think of the similarly shaped virus – or the media furore that has accompanied every twist and turn of the pandemic. 

This print design was inspired by mid twentieth century political posters, and by the way Andy Warhol and other Pop Artists drew attention to the role of commodification in popular culture by presenting images as multiples. This seems particularly pertinent given the way in which the virus rapidly reproduces – and the speed at which the available vaccines have become fiercely contested commodities. The print includes repeated motifs, and has been produced multiple times (edition of 10)

About Catherine

Catherine James’ practice is grounded in print and combines traditional techniques with digital technologies to produce works made with paper, textiles and film. The work exploits the materiality of paper and cloth and the immateriality of digital processes, and considers the historicity of print and photography.

Catherine trained as an academic Obstetrician and Gynaecologist before completing a Fine Art Foundation diploma (Morley College, Distinction) and an MA in the History of Art (Courtauld Institute of Art, Distinction). Both clinical and historical training influence her creative work. Catherine is currently working on a London Arts and Humanities Partnership (AHRC) project focused on early printed material in the rare book collection at the Royal College of Physicians.

Catherine usually works from her studio in Catford, South East London. During the coronavirus pandemic she has been making work at home using the kitchen table as a printing workshop and the bathroom as darkroom.

Link to Catherine’s Art Aviso profile HERE

Catherine was provided with the following page from Newnes’ Pictorial Knowledge Encyclopedia:

Volume 9
On things that interest you and me.
Through the Microscope