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Cyanotype 5 by Carolyn Quartermaine

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Title: Cyanotype 1

Description: Cyanotype on paper in clear acrylic plexiglas 2019

Dimension: 107 x 143cm

Artist and designer, Carolyn Quartermaine, studied Fine Art followed by an MA at the prestigious Royal College of Art, London. Her work spans over three decades at the cutting edge of art, art direction, design and interiors. She has taught at the RCA, and was made a visiting professor to the textile school. She recently renewed her room,The Glade, Sketch, which has découpaged walls using over thirty thousand pieces of paper and hand painted and printed furniture.

The most important ‘tool’ that influences her entire spectrum of work, and the thing that unites them all is, simply, her eye. It is this discerning eye for photography, collage and painting that has produced an intimate and captivating series on show at Connolly.

Concentrating on photography over the past two years, and with a major exhibition at the Musée Fragonard in Grasse, France, Carolyn’s cyanotypes on show are both photographic and painterly. “This is something I’m fascinated with as a process and as a historical medium - they allow me a way of mark making that’s the closest to my photography.”

These larger, more abstract cyanotypes – pools of saturated blue through which can be glimpsed spectral shapes of flowers — were made in Quartemaine’s rue Yves Klein studio on the Cote d’Azure, a place where she feels she can ‘paint with light...’

“I am always thinking of the Monet lilies and how, the closer you get, you lose the form and get lost in the brush strokes... I find that intimacy and scale very poetic... These new cyanotypes are a contemplation of a fragile moment that’s eternally suspended... brought up close so that it can be examined.The process of making these works is very long, the larger works especially; it’s a very considered preparation and then I have to react very quickly to pin that moment and I can’t rework it once it’s done. I only have this one chance to trap the fragile beauty of the moment... And then it is eternally pinned, like a butterfly, to the page. These works are larger, more abstract than before, more painterly. They are even looser, forever held on the brink of a moment that is about to be lost. Each image is the abstract remains of a moment...”

Even though they are cyanotypes, fixed images, like a photograph, Quartermaine preserves a sense of movement, as if she has taken a still from a film. ‘I am always wanting to capture emotion, tenderness, fragility and intimacy.‘I want to pin a moment in time.’

(Cyanotype: a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print).