A couple of years ago, a good friend of mine suggested that it seems like I work with graphics through painting and painting through graphics. It has been a long time since I focused specifically on painting, but whenever I find myself absorbed in mixing up way too many colours to attain the exact hue for the paper and other layers of a piece, I get a sense that painting is still with me in all I do; in short, I want to create spaces with tones and colours.
In recent years, I have focused on producing unique pieces, which has led me to a more experimental space. The process remains the heart of my work, and for this reason, I often do pieces in edition of 1. The craftmanship and inherited experience that it contains is essential to me. I follow the work all the way through.
My artistic practice creates links to several cultural spheres. I adopt elements from various forms and themes and make an effort to cultivate the insignificant, the overlooked and the flip side of stories, only to make it all come to view in one central and cross-connected whole with a personality and vulnerability of its own, in which traces of the process make up constitutive parts.
My works are constructed from details collected from motifs such as ‘weeds’ and ‘the female body’. I try to find new entrances – the reverse side of the motif or story – the angle, we do not normally see, when we are presented with the motif. I seek to find new alphabets, to develop a novel and elastic visual language. I criss-cross various techniques, cut and carve and paste together in order for mirroring to emerge; I flip the front towards the back and the back towards the front and weave it all together.
I play with contrasts from the Baroque and the Japanese tradition of Ukiyo-e. Print the same form numerous times and multiple spaces materialize. I do this to obtain the effect of deceiving the eye, as in Baroque art. Other spatial qualities crop up from processes where I use the paper both as a basis for the many paths and passages in the woodcut and as a sculptural shape in itself, when I cut it, fold it or twist it around.
I see my work as a continual effort to explore the possibilities of graphics. I love to bring to play interactions between planes and space, colours and paper, or between positive and negative areas. Where absence can be as telling as presence, and the positive and negative are equally forceful.
The aiming point for me is when the work is as firm as a haiku poem, and only what is most essential is present – but it at the same time announces an enigma and vulnerable state.
My works are physical with the presence and flaws that all bodies come with and at the same time they play out on a metaphorical level – as mirroring states of mind/mental states. They oscillate between the abstract and the concrete. They reflect inner spaces where everything is welcome and everything is in constant transformation.
Anne Marie Ploug