Jeff Rankin’s woodcuts and monotypes have been thoroughly enjoyed as part of the Impressions exhibition at The Cape Gallery. In his works, imagined features bleed into everyday encounters to reveal social experiences in a unique way.
Jeff Rankin speaks about Inverted Angels and White Collar Criminals:
Series Title: Inverted Angels (Woodcut prints)
“The Angels series is a perfect example of my ongoing road quest for props used in the acts I depict: near Bizana in northeast Transkei, a young girl stands in long grass, wearing a sun hat which has to be her mother’s or grandmother’s; in Durban’s busy Grey Street market area an older woman and young girl walk ahead of me on their shopping mission; at the small fishing port of St Francis I gaze down on the boats and imagine into their world a large skyward fish; a cow floats above a Port St Johns trading store; in the town of Alice an unemployed man and the bottle store seem sadly inseparable. I see these events and the people in them as angels of the everyday. The angels are inverted because (as all printmakers know) the woodcut print is a mirror-image of the block, inverted as it were, but also because my thinking is upside-down when I’m recreating these acts. To resolve the act depicted I go through this conceptual inversion, mostly with subtle effect, sometimes more extreme. The two-colour prints were made from separate blocks.”
Series Title: White Collar Criminals (Monotype and drawing)
“Titles are important to my work. These three pieces come from my lifelong obsession with bureaucracy and the corporate mindset, how they conspire to devalue the everyday, and how I regard this devaluation as a criminal act. I think the irony of the imagery is subconscious: through it I’m probably asking viewers to play, to use a sceptic lens. These Criminals are part of a larger series which may be infinite. In them I indulge my simple, powerfully therapeutic need to draw. I return to this subject tirelessly, in various ways, between other things. In this case the colour monotype is done on thin plastic sheet using a variety of tools, objects, inks and solvents; this is masked in selected areas before going through the press; the drawing or painting is then added. The reason for monotype, which by definition allows only one print, is that the press transfers the image in a totally unique way. I absolutely love the effects and will never tire of exploring the medium.”