Serena Smith
December 2020

On Stone

Having spent much of the past thirty-five years connected to the practice of lithography, a couple of years ago I thought it might be interesting to reflect on this experience. This decision led to doctoral research at Loughborough University and an ongoing inquiry that explores the generative intersection between stone lithography and writing.  I'm delighted to share with you a fragment of this research recently published in Inscription: the Journal of Material Text - theory, practice, history. Both a journal of cutting-edge research and a playful and innovative artefact, Inscription is issued in a limited edition of 500 by the experimental publishing imprint Information as Material.

The full text is available to read electronically here.
The physical publication can be purchased here.

Ekphrasis bookwork
Traversing the topography of this substrate, the tracks of these movements cluster and intersect. Lines of travel collide and converge. And as the tracing and re-tracing, repeats and returns, left within the membrane is a manuscript that documents journeys taken and territories charted.   Laid down in the process is the fragmented text of notation – a choreographic inscription in which might be glimpsed, an arabesque performed in the nexus between generative systems, time, and the intentions of life on the move.

Through the narrative threads of language, Ekphrasis considers an intimate relationship between site and practice. Navigating both the tracks and pathways of local parkland, and the contours of lines drawn on stone, the text dwells on the analogous acts of inscription in which these worlds converge. Moving between the woodland environment and the lithography studio these territories offer sites of speculation in which the transcriptions of language are born. Glimpsed in this process is an interplay between systems and substrates that simultaneously progress these unfolding lines, whilst resisting and constraining the routes they take. Spilling out from the overflow of these events is the excess of ornament. Visually hinted at in the format and method of the work are nineteenth century atlases and anatomical illustrations; more specifically referenced in the work is Ogham – a Celtic alphabet named after trees. 

From 'Ekphrasis: inscriptions on wood and stone', in IMPACT Printmaking Journal. Issue 1. (Spring 2020). 
Read the full text here.

Follow this link to see more images and a video

'Ekphrasis'; hand finished stone lithographs on 225gsm Simili Japon with bronzed text pages printed onto translucent paper, case bound with cloth cover. Closed dimensions 70 x 46 x 2 cms. Drawn, printed, bound, and published by the artist in an edition of 5 unique copies. 2020.

An exhibition of artists' books
Upright Gallery, Edinburgh
27 November - 19 December

Online catalogue here


Small Print International 6
An online exhibition of small works inspired by the first Aerogramme, introduced into the Iraqi postal service in 1933 by the Inspector General of Posts and Telegraphs.

Leicester Print Workshop
28 November - 13 February

View the exhibition here.
Above: Ascending Form 8, stone lithography and letterpress printed onto Chinese calligraphy tissue in an edition of 6, 22 x 20 cms.,£67.
Available to purchase online from the exhibition here.

All bookworks and hand-finished stone lithographs are available to purchase online through the website, prices range from £50 to £1800.
Above: Stasis; unique hand coloured stone lithograph,
sheet size 71 x 49 cms
Copyright © 2020 Select Title, All rights reserved.

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