Welcome to furiousdaypress.com, the website for prints, artists's books, chemigrams and more by rhturnbull. This site is designed not only as an image gallery but also a text gallery of sorts, which means you can read about the various works displayed here--their birth, their intended use, their slippery meanings, their occasional total failure--and in turn more confidently love, hate or feel indifferently about the works. There are also occasional updates about works in progress, exhibitions, artists' book fairs and the like, as well as information about rhturnbull's activities as a [sound of throat-clearing and chest-puffing] professional art historian. (Please add ironic quotation marks.) The royal we will endeavor to keep this site from becoming too blog-like.
Commercial disclosure: all works displayed here are for sale. Ask for details. Art should find homes.
I only began my serious visual work after my dissertation (in art history) and tenure (at FIT here in New York) were safely out of the way, namely in the summer of 2005. I initially took classes at the School of Visual Arts, FIT, Studio on the Square, Manhattan Graphics Center, the Center for Book Arts and the Lower East Side Printshop (all in Manhattan) and learned the rudiments of setting type, working on a letterpress press, basic bookbinding skills and various printmaking techniques. The techniques that allowed me to work fast and sometimes spontaneously--monotype, screenprinting, transfer prints, letterpress--intrigued me and served me better than slower acting processes like etching and lithography. I have no formal training in art or other visual media besides an introductory black-and-white darkroom class some years ago, and virtually no talent as a draftsman. I often use found imagery or generate my own abstract imagery. I don't work in one particular style or favor one particular approach. Because I wrote "professionally" before I ever made imagery, I tended to favor text-based works such as artists' books over straightforward printmaking, though this has changed in the last year or so. A somewhat late-breaking interest of mine is the chemigram, a unique form of cameraless photograph created entirely by the actions of photochemistry.
Particularly in the wake of the digital revolution, continued yammerings about "the death of the book" and the rise of electronic reading devices and e-books (no brand names here, please), there is both sensual and intellectual pleasure to be gotten from the creation of objects that only a tiny fraction of the contemporary world even knows or cares about. My prints, books and chemigrams tend to be squeezed into the interstices of my academic life and they tend to require vast amounts of solitude and quiet to be born, neither of which are in abundance in the city where I live. This means that in some ways all this work is created in protest against the discomforts of modern urban life, though I'm not sure I would look for a direct translation of this as source material in any of my work. There is memory involved--how could there not be?--but also a fascination with the abstract and the unstructured, the spontaneous and the experimental. There is the occasional stale whiff of autobiography, though I prefer to work with invented autobiographies that are so much more glamorous than my own.
And yes, we all know that experiments sometimes fail. A lot of printmaking and photographic paper was wasted, shredded or recycled to arrive at the works on these pages. Communities of relatively like-minded people were discovered and enjoyed. And though I guess I'm as prone to middle age dread as anyone, one of the benefits of Art for the Older Beginner is that it really does feel like a beginning and making things now seems like a dependable pleasure that it is hard to imagine failing in whatever years are left.