Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Inspiration from Statues

There are two statues flanking the entrance to the Supreme Court of Canada building in Ottawa, sculpted by Walter S. Allward. To the west is Truth (Veritas) to the east is Justice (Justitia). Veritas - Walter S. Allward Justitia - Walter S. Allward
Neither are particularly typical of the traditional representations of these morals; they're both pretty dark, but especially the one of Justice. I took numerous photos of these statues when we were in Ottawa this autumn, and knew that I wanted to do something with them. I had originally intended to create a reduction cut print for both, but after the first colour, I knew that a monochromatic approach would be much more powerful and representative, to me, of the feeling of those statues.

I decided to use the new "black linoleum" that I picked up from Opus. It really is beautiful to carve. So beautiful, in fact, that I got somewhat carried away. "Truth" was the first one that I carved and before I got going on "Justice", I wanted to proof the image. I managed to patch one of my bad carving choices (it wasn't a mistake in the sense of an "oh crap my tool just slipped") but the other I just have to live with or recarve the image.

Proof - "Truth"

Edition - "Truth"

By carefully trimming the edge of base of the statue and using that edge as a template to cut the top of the plinth, I managed to patch this just fine. This only worked because I was able to carve texture over the seam. It's very helpful to have a woodworker around - Dave gave me the instructions for how to do the patch relatively seamlessly.

Anyway, here are the finished (for now) two prints - although the colours look different digitally, in real life, it's the same ink.

Truth (after Allward)
Truth (after Allward)
Technique: Relief print (using new "black linoleum")
Media: Faust AquaLine water-soluble inks, Masa paper
Dimensions: 11 1/2"x5 1/2"
Year: 2008

Justice (after Allward)
Justice (after Allward)
Technique: Relief print (using new "black linoleum")
Media: Faust AquaLine water-soluble inks, Masa paper
Dimensions: 11 1/2"x5"
Year: 2008

I am very pleased with the results. They're both very powerful images; there is one thing that really bugs me about "Truth" compositionally - can you spot it? But it doesn't make it a bad image, just less strong. I'm really pleased with "Justice"; I think that I managed to successfully capture the feeling of darkness that I got from the actual statue.


Eraethil said...

Hi Amie,

Great prints! I agree that you've captured the power and the somewhat dark mood of these subjects. :)

I was initially looking very closely at the implied light source for your compositional concern. Nope couldn't justify it. Then at the pointing fingers, which could be interpreted rudely, but nope, couldn't justify your concern over that either.

Is it the length of the left arm?

If I'm searching this hard for it, it can't be much of a concern. ;)

Unknown said...

Thanks R!! Of course, I see it blaring out obviously at me!

I'm assuming all anatomical proportions are correct, as I just copied directly from my photo of the statues, so any errors there would have to be the original sculptors (the digital image wouldn't have been that badly distorted).

Beth said...

I haven't had any luck in finding the part that you're not happy with, either. Looks good to me!

I agree that these are strong pieces. They'd look gorgeous framed as a pair. :)

Unknown said...

Thanks Beth! Yes, I was definitely planning on either framing them together or matching their framing & hang together. They're meant to be together.

Katka said...

It seems the word of the day, in my world anyway, was "Draconian". It popped up several times today and, oddly enough, it seems to fit the original statues your prints are based on.
Lots of power in your interpretations, Amie. Very nicely done. I don't see any blaringly obvious flaws.

Anonymous said...

I came across your blog while in "WetCanvas! withdrawal". What caught my eye was the ease with which you move from natural to man-made subject matter. I particularly like "Justice" the lean vertical lines broken by the horizontal line of the crossed arms makes a very effective composition.