Cracking the puzzle: Matthew Hindley returns to DKW to make an ambitious etching series

Blogger: Jessie Cohen

20.06.16

Recently, Cape Town-based contemporary artist Matthew Hindley returned to David Krut Workshop (DKW) to develop an ambitious etching series. Hindley didn’t waste any time, launching into a highly considered new project which he describes as “figuring out a large puzzle”.

Pondering the puzzle – Hindley erects multiple printing proofs to the workshop wall to meticulously plot his next move.

The series is a continuation of Hindley’s previous visit to DKW when he made two drypoint plates, resulting in richly detailed etchings, titled Formation and The Distant Clouds:

Formation forms part of Hindley’s visual exploration of beautiful explosions. The drypoint was also printed in black and white. The colour version has hand-painting.

This black and white version of The Distant Clouds also exists with exquisite hand painting and can be viewed at Hindley’s artist page on the DKP website.

Formation and The Distant Clouds recently featured on the small works show at David Krut Projects (DKP) Parkwood, Inch x Inch (2016). The rest of the series will be shown by DKP at the Johannesburg Art Fair 9-11 September 2016.

With the help of DKW printer Kim-Lee Loggenberg, Hindley conceptualized his etching series as a grid of 9 separate works, printed with different colour variations.

Matthew collaborates with Kim-Lee to decide on the different colour variations for the plates.

Hindley and Kim-Lee discuss possible colour combinations to make the works “pop”: “In every grid variation, the central colour will be black. Surrounding images will be positioned according to an axis of warm and cool. The idea is that the buyer can mix the colours they like”, Hindley explains.

The series forms part of a larger project, titled Ruin Lust, which incorporates paintings by Hindley in addition to watercolour monotypes, which he made with DKW a few months ago. These works can also be viewed on Hindley’s artist page.

Hindley explains:  “I am putting a modern spin on the concept of ‘ruin lust’ by representing contemporary  images of destruction drawn from media reports. This is a different approach to the art made in the 17th  century which depicts picturesque ruins. I’m expanding the limits of the term by focusing on the moment of destruction, which precedes the ruin. In my drypoints, monotypes and paintings I reflect the violent present in which we live and tap into our primal attraction towards ruins”.

Hindley’s etchings convey paradoxically beautiful explosions and alluringly thick plumes of smoke. He experiments with different colour combinations and grid configurations:

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Hindley is attracted to bright colours which have been somewhat “dirtied or dulled”, as he puts it. As a result, Kim-Lee mixed raw umber with bold colours, such as violet, cyan, orange, sap green and magenta to create the desired tone for each print.

As well as experiment with colour, Hindley welcomed the opportunity to develop his burnishing skills. He explored mark-making techniques and enjoyed the process of re-working his plates to achieve strong contrasts in each image.

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Hindley's works in progress. Source materials and burnishing tools.

Hindley’s plates in progress can be seen alongside his source materials and burnishing tools.

While Hindley’s subject matter is drawn from realistic, photographic images of war and destruction, he encourages an abstract and imaginative reading of the works. Hindley suggests that “the smoke shapes, which occur throughout the series, throw up other shapes like the silhouette of a cat’s head and a dragon”. Can you spot the cat’s head and ears in this cloud formation?

Hindley’s time in the workshop has creatively fed his painting: “by developing mark-making with drypoint, my approach to painting has changed. I am now making drypoint-style oil paintings, which ultimately means incorporating a decisive quality of line for which you need to have conviction, bravery and a looseness to your approach. In a sense, it is a return to drawing, to the original mark”.

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To view one of Hindley’s exciting grid configurations for his etching series, please click:

Ruin Lust Drypoint Layout

To see the full range of drypoints and watercolour monotypes produced by Hindley at DKW, please visit his artist page.

To read more about the concept underpinning this etching series, take a look at the blog post Explosive beauty / Beautiful explosions.

Hindley’s drypoints will be exhibited by DKP at the Joburg Art Fair this coming September.