Australian Contemporary Artist

Prints from found objects

My slice, Portland
My slice, Portland, 43 x 30 x 4cm; found object, drypoint, chine collé, map, drafting film, thread, stamping

Jenny Peterson completed a nine-week Arts Development Grant from Arts Victoria for the creation of Site, Surface and Memory: works on paper. The purpose of this grant was to create a new body of works combining personal memory and rural experience with the found object…

"My objective was to collect suitable metal and paper-based objects to manipulate and build as plates to print onto paper. These included topographical, road and tourist maps, and copies of old maps from museums relating to two areas: Beechworth and Portland. I chose the two locations, outside my own rural area of south-east Victoria, in order to metaphorically ‘travel the map’ to heritage locations that were richly layered with text and symbols.

The project is a development of my previous investigations into found metal printing, which started in 2002 by running (somewhat flattened) corrugated iron through my etching press. That year an exhibition titled Tin Suit combined themes of Ned Kelly armour and corrugated metals. Having disposed of a rusty porch roof and brand new mini-orb, my hunger for materials led on to rusty tin cans, scrap metal, rusted-out wheelbarrows, cooking tins and baking trays. Etching techniques are used to reproduce map imagery and handwriting. In the My Slice series, image and object cohere as found metal trays are transformed into both art works and framing devices, mounted with the prints in glass boxes.

I target any textured, embossed metal or objects with signs of extreme usage evidenced by knife scratches, dents and baked-on grime. The conceptual development and technical investigations of the found object go hand-in-hand. Memories of human activity are represented in the printed surface of these second-hand objects, the hard edginess of metal plates combined with soft meandering contours of maps indicating where objects were found. Through the etching press, the paper is embossed into the metal, picking up ink deposits in every detail. All the history of work, scratches of memory and the ageing of rust are revealed for us to see."

Jenny Peterson was one of six artists commissioned by the PCA in 2002. See IMPRINT Vol.37 No.3, Spring 2002, p.15.