JWM: Beyond Reach is a series of works on paper I made using copper grease – a material used as an anti-seize agent in mechanical engineering. It is an incidentally luscious material made from copper particles suspended in soap and oil with shimmering effects that elicit the desire to touch. These works explored the unattainable fantasy of mediating ‘the lover’s touch’ through my own in order to give it material form.
Whilst this conceptual exercise inevitably and necessarily failed, what did emerge, however, was a new material process that embodies a maker’s desire for privileged points of contact with absent, beloved persons.
The process of making of these works was quite involved. I began by etching an 8:10 grid on to a piece of perspex. I then use this grid as a means to develop seemingly arbitrary, but actually tightly controlled compositions by making gestural marks on the reverse side of the perspex with my hands covered with copper grease. Due to the nature of the material, these could be erased and reworked indefinitely. Once I had arrived at a satisfying composition, I lay paper on to the perspex, allowing the fibres to soak up the grease and copper particles suspended within it. The resulting work is a kind of contact print, but one that takes time to form, like a photograph for instance.
Beyond Reach (Torben), 2018 copper grease on paper in oak box frame, 41 x 34 x 1.5 cm
Beyond Reach (River), 2018 copper grease on paper in oak box frame, 41 x 34 x 1.5 cm
Beyond Reach (Harry), 2018 copper grease on paper in oak box frame, 41 x 34 x 1.5 cm
Beyond Reach (Joseph), 2018 copper grease on paper in oak box frame, 41 x 34 x 1.5 cm