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Rogue ink: artist Lou Almon on her inimitable technique

24 September 2017 - 00:00 By Staff reporter

Lou Almon has been a prominent force in the art world for decades and has been working on developing her original monotype technique for over 30 years.
This distinctive technique consists of applying oil-based ink onto a large surface of glass and lifting off the colour, layer by layer and then allowing the colour to dry between each lift. Once she has created several layers of colour, she rolls black ink onto the glass and then places the layered paper face down on the black ink and draws the image she has in her mind."The drawing appears on the back of the paper and so when I 'lift off' I see the result in reverse and am constantly delighted with the spontaneity of the line drawing. Each work is unique and impossible to reprint," says Almon.
"The process I use for creating these images is at once conscious and deliberate, while the imagery depicted is usually unconscious and spontaneous. The very process involves a direct and mindful state. The lines, marks and manipulations are drawn in 'absence' of the initial textured colouring and design and only spring spontaneously to life once the paper is turned. This is when the images are finally revealed as part of the initial layering and become 'present'," she says.
"The title of my upcoming exhibition Present in Absence describes the works as being 'present in absence' as they portray a quietness, or an aloneness, of the figures. A presence in, and because of, their absence. The negative spaces hold the figures in place and in some cases merge with the positive images. It is in this 'inbetween space' or 'the negative spaces around the figures' that I believe the energy is most keenly felt, and most present in its absence."This body of work is the culmination of an intensive year of highly personalised layering of oil inks, line drawing, markings and manipulations. But it also represents over 30 years of development and experimentation with paints, paper and other materials to arrive at a signature drawing and printing technique. In this exhibition, she uses it to explore what is present in life by its absence. 
• 'Present in Absence' runs from September 28 to October 3 at Candice Berman Gallery Shop 8, Riverside Shopping Centre, Bryanston, Joburg...

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