James Rogers: In his own words


James Rogers Artist Printmaker Sculptor Brixton London 2022 Art School

James Rogers discusses his new triptych: Sometimes weight hangs like a boulder, other times it hangs like a dress

“It seems a natural law to follow the path of least resistance, sometimes it may be electricity moving through a circuit board, abscission with trees in the winter, or even the seasonal patterns shared between leaves and people as they too spring and fall. Engraving images into brass isn’t the easiest of tasks, but you do see it, individuals walking around with boulders on their shoulders, occasionally you can spot it in their posture, or the way that even the slightest thing can throw them off balance - particularly when they’re this top heavy.

Whilst now being forced to carry this weight, pushing up against the fragments of planets that he has balanced across his shoulders, it wasn’t always this way. He’d began his journey in the saddle, some would say that he once learnt to wield nature - as opposed to now being crushed under it.

Jame Rogers Artist  Etching Printmaker Brixton London 2022

Etching, originally pioneered by Daniel Hopfer in the late Fifteenth Century as a means to decorate armour, I’ve found it an excellent technique in reversing the sort of emotional armouring that tends to build up in these characters - who can blame them with giant weights to bear. Beginning here with a study of myself, 3D scanned in an inflatable dinosaur suit in a sort of nod to those equestrian statues, the image is redrawn across three plates - if the machine were to be left alone, they would be identical. However, through a combination of mechanical glitches, and hand rendered mark making, the images transform upon each repetition. [William S.] Burroughs in his treatment of the cut-ups once said ‘When you cut into the present, the future leaks out’.

Beginning in the saddle, nature dominated and behaving itself beneath him, sat atop an inflatable dinosaur suit from a studio in Brixton - I load up the brass plates onto the bed of the machine - each covered in a thin black layer of wax, and the machine loaded with the steel etching needle. As the machine begins to hum, drawing across the plate and removing the thin wax ground along with it, certain interactions begin to occur. Motors judder out of place, his steed has transformed into a sort of dress below him, I notice the ground has been thrust up into the sky - I grab another etching needle and quickly complete the demonic figure that has begun to appear amongst the glitches. At one point a small bird began to rise from a cup placed on the ground - I knew instantly he wasn’t a threat though - the eyes of predators are never as far apart as his were.

And so, his story continues across the remaining two plates, at one point losing the weight of the boulder but finding himself puppeteer-ed from the same shoulders by another individual, and now the tension that had freed itself from his upper body - seems to have conducted itself down to his legs, which stood crossed below him - he realised he would soon tie his knee’s in knots if he tried to walk this way.

Machines judder, circuit boards flash, and I force the machine further in and out of place. The third plate begins to appear, he seems to be nearing the completion of his journey as he reappears back atop his steed, some strange marks form in the sky - that only as he looked closer amongst the clouds of the aquatint box - form themselves into flying beasts of some sort. He also for a brief moment spotted a strange character enticing him off into the distance - sort of like a water nymph, still wearing the speedos from the sea but now sporting the body of a racing horse. And the final brief moment in which his legs were yet to fully appear, and he had to choose whether to answer the problem of being a four-legged beast as [Henry] Moore did - lay back and deal with things gracefully. Or as [Lynn] Chadwick did - lean forward, as though to do a push up, and resemble some sort of four-legged beast.

And so he did, he leant forwards, the beast grew a sort of beard from its chin, and he continued to move along the brass - boulder pinched under his arm, and the reigns in his other.” 

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