Friday, September 2, 2011

And the Worms too shall have Their Say

11090102gelatin_wormy_leaves72
In this case, the worms are tiny green caterpillars (unknown species). These leaves are from my worm-ridden hops vine, usually an unstoppable perrenial, but this year it is decimated into an early state of lace. And so, the artful work of the worms have been preserved for posterity on a gelatin print.
11090101gelatin_wormy_leaves72
It is hard not to think of death and decay when working with gelatin. It is a product made from the bones of swine (hope I didn’t ruin your day with that), and it is prone to decay. Every gelatin plate has a limited life span with an unknown due date, just like us. As long as I have one cooling in the fridge, it adds a background buzz of anxiety—not much, but it is there. I wonder, will I get the most of the plate? Will the art honour the use of a food product made from animals?  Will I pull enough enough prints from it before time renders it unusable? And what wonders, or disasters will appear when it arrives at it’s final stages, mould-ridden, pocked, gelatinous with edges so soft that they slough off with every use?
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Mouldy gelatin: about 3 weeks old. This is it’s last day.
mouldy-gelatin
Initial test prints from the mouldy gelatin, just to see what innate textures it will have.
There is an artificial and permanent substitute for gelatin. These gel printing plates would be essential to vegetarians, but I too am thinking of getting some.  I would love it for the in-between times, when I don’t want to deal with time-limited realities, and for demo’s, when the real thing is just too fragile. 
However, I must admit that dealing with gelatin’s fragility and decay is essential to the point of the matter. Nothing is permanent, nothing lasts forever.  As artists and collectors, we try to by-pass this thought, using archival this, and archival that, hoping that through art we will achieve some measure of permanence, but once in awhile, it is good to stare into the face of mortality and know we need to grasp every moment as it comes; life is dynamic and short (however long it may be, it will always be short); don’t waste a minute.

5 comments:

Quiltbug said...

I love the 'wormy' prints. My Gelli plate arrived today so I'm thinking of what to try first. I do not have any spare fridge space for a 'real' gel plate so this will work for me. I will not have the advantage of the interesting disintegration opportunities. I can live with that.

kaslkaos said...

Thanks Quiltbug, and there are other ethical reasons for using the gelli plate too, and it's okay to mention that too. Hope you have have (and do want to see your frog some day, if it ever comes to be.

Jennifer Rose said...

ewww mold, blagh :p

still want to try this, might do at college if we do printing later on. everytime i see one of your lovely prints I just want to go out and get some jello :p

Chrissy said...

These are simply beautiful...to quote yourslef. They simply get better and better :D

kaslkaos said...

Heh, heh, that was a disgusting plate, and just think that was brewing in my fridge for awhile. You should try this. It doesn't take much, just a packet, a small container, and go.
Chrissy, thanks! I've been thinking of that, as we follow each others blogs and time marches on, some good things have happened.

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