Two of our gallery artists, Raymond Arnold and Ian Westacott (both internationally recognised printmakers) have been working on an etching project for more than 12 years, in which they have been trying to fix, through the etching process, a series of precise moments in the tumultuous world around them.
Ian Westacott is an Australian artist who lives near Dornoch in the highlands of Scotland and Raymond Arnold is an Australian artist who splits his life between France, Scotland and the remote west coast of Tasmania, where he currently runs a thriving international gallery and artist-in-residence programme, attracting artists from around the world. The complex migratory pattern of these artists, friends since they attended art school together more than 30 years ago, forms the background to their artistic endeavours.
Westacott draws in a frenetic manner and his line twists and morphs across the darkened plate surface as it searches for the mass of things. His etching tool is sharp and precise and weaves a delicate and inscripted net. Arnold looks for the outline and the boundary where the figure separates from the ground. His etching tools are broader in edge, which he uses in such a way as to carve the waxy ground into a suitable mosaic of line and form.
As the two plates are etched (the etched plate is completely submerged in an acid that eats away at the metal exposed by the drawing process), and then printed one after the other onto the same paper sheet, the subsequent image develops a dynamic quality unforeseen in either or the artist's original strategies. That the object comes to life through a type of animation or what could be described as a kind of 'wobble' does not underestimate the effect.