Janet Tryner Fine Artist

Fine artist and live graphics designer.

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Particles of life - January 2020

I'm making an artwork from my current 10-month project of walking to the studio and collecting on the way. 

Arranged like this they draw me in. Impressions on white paper of bits and bobs, lacking colour, mostly, more redolent of the texture of their origin with bits of soil embedded in the paper surface. They bring you closer to the shape of things. If I didn't remember them I would wonder what they are and then I wonder why they are gathered as they are. How similar they are as bits, yet how different. How can they be understood? What category do they fall under once they’ve fallen to the ground beyond being waste. I think it is fair to categorise under time as well as organic / inorganic. Some will have a long after-life on the ground, some substantially inverse to the life they once had. And why do we speak of ‘life’ at all when it comes to detritus?On one hand, I want to have a detached, scientific operating system for choosing, but on the other hand, I find I can't endure this. I want to create poetry in the shapes I find, and that requires aesthetic choice. Decisions constantly play off against each other when composing a painting and the same kind of system of composition seems to operate here. But is it aesthetics alone choice the only thing that causes me to collate and sort when it comes to embossing. Can this library of bits be grouped together as one thing? A taxonomy of waste?

Today I spread out some of the paper embossments of the things I’ve collected on the floor, carefully keeping them in date order. I’ve worked out mathematically how much space they will cover, but I have to see it so I arranged them in columns of three. I have 177 pieces so far - four months’ exploration in a single line of footsteps to a single point in the city, eyes glued to the ground, fingers elevating particles from life and stowing them away. 

Each piece of paper is a record, not a memory. It's clear to me the ground is a major character in the work, but I wonder now, not quite half-way through my project, what taxonomic system am I operating and will I find it unexpected when all the papers are together? If I try to predict it will that spoil the surprise?

Currently, I’m very much aware of my selectivity. I can’t take absolutely everything off the ground. Well, I could, but that’s an indiscriminate job already performed by council services and I feel it’s my job as an artist to be discriminating. At this point, a regular train of thought oscillates guiltily to my failure to remove the dangerous things from the precious ground. There are some things I see that I cannot bear to pick up. Mainly, these are food-based. I imagine them squelching and slithering over my clean press and that makes me feel a bit sick, so I leave them for the street cleaner and look somewhere else. 

I am squeamish, but I have limits, or maybe they are standards I need to challenge. I find that I am able to pick up a child’s filthy sock from the gutter but cannot bring myself to collect the g-string from under a car with steamed-up windows. But now I’ve written that I imagine I will return to that spot and see if it’s still there – because now I’ve written it and I wanted to be truthful to all of life in the city. Also, brought together in a blank impression on white paper possibly the imprint of human lust will not look so different from the imprint of tree pollen.

Other than what I can bear to pick up, there are things that I am bored of passing under the press. There are only so many imprints of Costa coffee lids and (so many more) sugar sachets I want to include. This begs a question over my aesthetic judgment. Items I haven’t seen before encouraging my curiosity, as well as the peculiar-shaped and ones of unidentifiable heritage. I pretty much always pick up rubber bands because I like the unfussy circle shapes they make in the paper that will look akin to gasping punctuation marks scattered across the final work. Besides all this, giving myself permission to pick stuff up off the street has created a collection of oddly shaped brightly coloured plastic too thick to go under the press roller, which also belies my former claim to make choices based on practical considerations. 


What taxonomic systems are operating?
 - the classification of something, especially organisms. "the taxonomy of these fossils" a scheme of classification. plural noun: taxonomies, "a taxonomy of smells".

I want to see an operating taxonomy of things that intrigues and surprises me but is recognisable to anybody else sharing my in-depth knowledge of living in the Anthropocene age. i.e. Everyone else. I spy the seasons in what I collect and I want this present in the work, but I don't know if it will be obvious. We have parity with plants in using the ground as collecting place, somewhere to begin again. For them, static incumbents of the ground, discarding parts of their bodies enriches the soil, for us, it’s to lose our past. The ground was never intended to regurgitate our past demeanors. Isn’t that how we see it? You go to the ground and end there. Only our bits and bobs aren’t ending quickly enough. For the ground to function as the never-ending recycling machine we seem to imagine it is we need to extend our timescales to match its. 

Traces of Google algorithms peek in below this window I type in: ‘People also search for…’ Systema… Phyloge… Paleonto… Biodiversity - a taxonomy of taxonomies = google searches. How do you classify parts when everything is so lumped together to start with and clearly become drawn together again once you have finished. What is this urge to separate, collate and name things that constantly want to merge in response to gravity?

I don't know if I will still be asking such questions when it is all together in July. I am currently re-reading Jane Bennett's 'Vibrant Materials' which I now realise I have internalised more than remembered and is more central to my thinking than I thought. Thanks to John Hammersley for insisting on pointing me back here. 

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Stand on the ground - Falls The Shadow, Wrong Biennale

This work will be presented on the Falls The Shadow Router as part of the Wrong Biennale @ Eastside Projects from 2.1.20 until the end of the Biennale.

It is about my sense of confusion over the lines overlaid on older representations of the landscape by online digital mapping technologies which create new anachronisms layered over whatever reality is. Appropriately, with the Wrong Biennale, it is published within the transparent fuzzy spatial limits of a router's wifi signal.  The video will be removed from this page at the end of the biennale although it will be kept within the biennale's archive. Please contact me with further queries.

"Is is where I can see I can be?"

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Sep-Oct 19 Entanglement Embossing Trees

I've spent the last few months recalibrating after graduating, adjusting to new spaces and putting some ideas into practice.

With more time than expected over summer, I made some print work and continued that into my new working space at Eaton House. I've reduced my imitative and graphic input into the work. Instead, finds are embossed onto damp cartridge paper with an etching press - actually, it's a cheap adapted die-cutter - to transfigure three-dimensional objects onto a flatter surface. It protects some of the shapes and textures and obfuscates others in interesting ways. There will be some way of pulling someone else's gaze through this collection and giving them a view of the ground level, which won't be always something to be proud of but won't be unremittingly grim. It already suprises me in unusual ways.


I park in different places each day and walk into the studio with the purpose of collecting things on my way in. My gaze is mostly fixed on the ground, but my imagination is continually pulled upwards into the canopies of the trees in the parks and boulevards in this part of Coventry. Unlike the things I brought back from the new housing estates I was exploring, much of what I find in this aged suburbia South of Eaton House is organic; leaves and seeds from mature trees, windfall fruit, and berries. Sure, they are mixed in with thoughtlessly discarded plastic bits and bobs; broken blue pen lids, coffee lids, ring pulls, plastic chocolate bar wrappers and a dropped horde of Costa sugar packets. Nevertheless, I've been given a feel that there is a bounty of 'nature' on the surface. This space is settled in and ecology with the wilderness has grown - or been allowed to edge in.

The research nature of my practice means I'm drawn to preservation; to represent the items picked up as much to interpret them in some artistic sense. There is something as magical in the real fragments that we walk over, as to imagine that surface as foreign and unknowable because we overlook it (in both senses of the word.) Although we might experience it as something solid and supporting, it is at the same time very changeable and far from inert, in a chaotic as well as cyclical manner, although that often manifests in a very low-key way.

Initially, idly following a lead from the tree matter, I took a route around War Memorial Park photographing memorial plaques at the foot of trees - each beseeching a plaintive descriptive "Tree". Each plaque a rope on a cultivated foot. The immediate cultural cliche linkage of trees and plants to human bereavement and loss harnesses and overcomes the wilderness of trees. Cultivation seems to create a scene that pales in comparison with the rich and complex entanglement of wilderness. There seems an urge to arrange or make sense of things that is to the detriment of the things in question.

Understanding of the wild is really hard for us to access as a culture. In effect, these wild and culture are binary opposites, a duality that pushes us further and further away from the world that sustains us.
As we enjoy our commonplace optimum conditions of survival we become further dislocated. It is possible that if we were more mentally located within the environment that sustains us, we would treat it better. Would we, like the trees, make our waste do nothing more than enrich the ground we grow on.   

This quote (I think) is from Timothy Morton. He is writing about his theory of hyperobjects:

This is an inverted image of an unfinished pathway on one of the housing estates I explored last summer. We could go further on our path, but we have to think differently: 'imagine a mode of reading the world' in a way that is not our own, possibly not for our own benefit if we could be so capable.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

I'm delighted to report that I've been offered a fantastic opportunity for a graduate residency in Coventry at Eaton House with ArtSpace. As part of the residency, I will be blogging, and I will post those here along with my other bits and pieces.

I will also have a solo show next August. Since I feel rather intimidated by that term I shall be sticking to 'a space in which to show my work'. August 2020 seems a long time away from being in my mid-twenties which is when I first dared to put a drawing of my own on my own wall. It turns out I’m a slow starter. I've always rather regretted that, but suspect I might also have dodged a lot of crap that way.

So... what will I make / do / show / tell?
Well, it's too early to say, but there will be an acknowledgement of certain chaos, and how we collude to keep the real thing out the window, at bay - out there. What exactly is this 'real thing' though? OOO (Object Oriented Ontology) proposes that although we can never actually know the true reality of anything we can know it sensually - its effects, evidence and traces. And that's as close as we're ever going to get. Reality approached as such is like a fall, or a terminal beginning: knowing you'll never land because you'll always dodge the ground. This would not be something to topple into unwillingly but go relishing the opportunity. So, this is a huge opportunity, and before I dwell too long, I can say that currently, it feels something like when a building has gone and a gap remains and then the gap gets filled with ideas of what might be there next, along with this realisation that you can see through the gap now and this is rather nice and spacious, like being let in on a secret - looking through the ghost of the building that was once there, and you kind of like that as it is. In living lightly - you don't have to fill the gap.

Friday, 26 July 2019

Garden Lobster colour set

Common rough woodlouse in bright colours. I think I'm influenced by their Garden Lobsters nickname, so I'm going for cooked lobster pink. You'd certainly notice them in the garden more often if they were this colour. All this with view to making a large composition with a background. Prefer the left and right.

Out of all the ones I've done lately, and I've done a lot, I prefer the misaligned ones. They really mess with the eyes in an interesting way.

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Printing updates & Armadillidiidae

The dock weeds growing in the soil I 'liberated' from the housing estates are growing a crazy red dock spot pattern.

They are probably much weakened by being grown in pots and can't fight it off. But it does look pretty and I noticed it just in time to get it into the print. However, as you can see on this test print, the screen print stencil didn't work as hoped. I'm going to rework this as a lino-cut block print and use the opportunity to add more detail.
While I think about this another printing project has taken over my walls - so currently, they are covered with woodlice! Not real ones, and looking a bit like pineapples here.

Because I spent all that time making a lino-cut stamp to make the wild-clay ceramic woodlouse effigies for my degree my thought is that I may as well try them on paper, retrofitted with two more lino-cut block printed layers to add colour. No photos here but they look great in bright graduated colours. Next time I will plan the layers ahead as doing them later was really tricky, hence I don't have photos of the fancy coloured ones. 

No details now but I'm thinking about ways to make a bigger, part layered woodlouse block print.

Monday, 1 July 2019

A growing project: salvaged silver-houses soil

July 2019. I sit here considering what to do about the weeds and splurging into tissues the remainder of a cold that kept me down all weekend.

The weeds are growing in soil that I 'liberated' from ground destined to complete a shiny new residential estate. A poetic reminder of its last wild moment when it was beautiful. Enthusiastically stealing from the developers a wealth of confetti in white-flowered Shepard's Purse and Thistle.

So far I have grown mainly baby Dock Weeds and a very long and searching Field Speedwell. A flat, round and fluttery leaved buttercup that didn't like growing in a pot also upped and then died.

I want to make a print to celebrate them. So I'm drawing on tracing paper to overlap them and see what shapes there are.

3 July.
Slowly cutting out a complicated stensil. This will be the top layer in a strong opaque colour. But it has to be done first so I know where all the other shapes need to go.

I'm still clearing out and amalgamating all the studio things I had to bring back from college into my house. This quite a large task! Nevertheless, I've managed to squeeze a space for making and drying prints into my bedroom. It's nicer to work on the table downstairs with a view of the garden but at least I don't have to tidy stuff away so often.

I'm planning on using a range of printing techniques and I will end up with a range of prints on paper that probably have a few differences. Lino relief printing I'm used to, screen printing not so much. I haven't tried to combine them before, so we will have to see how it goes.

I have a some Permaset Premium ink on order and I'm interested to see how that works on plastic. It's water-based but will print on unpermeable surfaces so I'm hopeful it will be more successful than anything else I've tried recently.