Brian Kirk


rust print and indigo on Belgian linen

32” x 48”



Artist Statement

Experimental Print Making Using Iron and Steel

I have always been interested in the natural world and find wonder in nature, natural phenomena and the forces of nature. I relish the changing seasons, the ebb and flow of the tides and the changing phases of the moon and an exciting thunderstorm. I began exploring the rust transfer process after leaving a cardboard box on an outdoor steel table in wet weather. When moving the box weeks later, I noticed an interesting rust pattern transferred onto the bottom of the box from the steel oxidation. I began an exploration of the rust transfer process using archival watercolor paper combined with industrial steel plate cast-offs, original cut-out shapes, re-cycled wire and combinations of these steel objects to create artistic compositions.

The steel cut-out shapes are sandwiched in between two sheets of watercolor paper and are placed in a water bath for 4-6 weeks to develop iron oxidation (rust) to create the images. The natural chemical reaction between water and the iron alloy (steel) pressed onto the paper creates a unique image. The rust transfer process is controlled to a limit, and then nature, water and time take control creating a rich palette of yellow ocher, orange, burnt Sienna, and umbers. The rust image is sealed with an archival fixative. I have been using archival watercolor paper for many years and now experimenting with other substrates such as Belgian Linen, plastic paper, primed and unprimed canvas, print paper and fabrics.

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