Fragments of Morocco

Karen Landt-Isley translates a tour of Morocco into an exploration of landscape and Gestalt philosophy.

14 March 2022
In Exhibitions,
Printmaking, Q&A

From top:

Karen Landt-Isley:

Atlas Mountains: Pine Scrub, Morocco, 2019-2022, photogravure composite, 56 x 76 cm, edition of 9

High Atlas Mountains: Green Reflections, 2019-2022, artist book: photogravure with Procion dyes, 20 x 22 x 12 cm

Rural Berber Village: N’Kob-Zagora, 2019-2022, digital photograph on canvas, 188 x 84 cm

Atlas Mountains: Sunset Fragments, 2019-2022, artist book: photogravure with relief, 15 x 21 x 3 cm

Q: What were some of the foundation ideas for this exhibition project?

A:  The main foundation or focus of the exhibition was to re-create the sense of fragmentation of memories or mMoments experienced on a two-week tour in Morocco. The four-wheel drive tour was constantly on the move, and I experienced the Moroccan landscape and culture through the window of the moving vehicle.  Another foundation idea was Gestalt philosophy, in which all parts make a whole. Large prints were folded and ripped, all resultant images included, to create artist books. Another foundation was to push the boundary of iPhone photography.

Q: How did the artwork selection take place?

A: A cross section of 2D Prints and Artist’s Books were chosen to reflect the idea of “fragmentation”. The artworks were colour, black & white, different sizes and not framed. The challenge would be in the installation / hanging of the disparate parts.

Q: How does the exhibition manifest – what do visitors experience?

A: The exhibition will manifest a feeling of fragmentation/disorientation through composition elements of the image making process. Visitors will be turning their heads to make sense of the composition with both the artist’s books and 2D artworks. The artist’s book creates a more personal interaction with the viewer through the sense of touch.

Q: What are some of the key works and what subject matter do they deal with?

A: Key works include the image of Atlas Mountains: Pine Scrub, showing how the pine scrub trees survive the varying weather elements of nature. The High Atlas Mountains: Green Reflections artist book uses the Atlas Mountains: Pine Scrub image but it is folded and ripped to create the artist book, in the manner of Gestalt philosophy. Rural Berber Village: N’Kob-Zagora shows a street in the indigenous Moroccan village, photographed horizontally and displayed vertically to create disorientation to the viewer. The artist book Atlas Mountains: Sunset Fragments shows fragmented parts of the natural landscape of pine scrub trees.

Q: What is it about the printmaking experience that you most appreciate

A: My ultimate experience of printmaking is photogravure. The photogravure process involves the understanding the quality of light and composition of photography combined with intaglio print making process. In the printmaking process, intaglio and relief, the ink sits on the surface of the paper creating a tactile sense as compared to photography, where the image is embedded in the photographic paper.

Fragments of Morocco is at Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts, Townsville, 11 March-13 April https://www.umbrella.org.au/fragments-of-morocco/

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