Marianthi Lainas - Sea Signatures (Signed)

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Marianthi Lainas - Sea Signatures (Signed)

Signed 1st edition published by, Kozu Books, 2022
Format: Hardback, 205x250mm
Pages: 80
Condition: Very Good

A collection of works started in 2017 and made predominantly by using the cyanotype process in collaboration with the coastal landscape.

In common with many people who have lived their lives in close proximity to the sea, I experience a slight sense of claustrophobia when inland for more than a few days – a strange feeling that something isn’t quite right in my world – and I am drawn back to the coast.

It has always been the littoral landscape that has inspired me most creatively and which I feel compelled to explore visually - those dynamic areas of coastline encompassing dune systems, the intertidal zone and the nearshore parts of the sea. A place where tides wash over layers of rocks laid down through the millennia, and where sands are re-sculpted daily by wind and wave.

My home, at the tip of the Wirral peninsula in North West England, lies a stone’s throw from the shore. This part of the UK coastline is a place of shifting sands, estuarine mudflats and tidal islands. Wide, expansive beaches spread out for miles. From time to time the sea seems to disappear in the west.

Most days, I make my way across these ochre sands, over the wrack line to the water’s edge. I have become familiar with the tidal patterns, observing the ebb and flow – reassuring constants during turbulent times.

During a period of ‘creative block’ in 2016, I felt a strong need to explore a more direct, physical way of engaging with this littoral landscape. Time spent experimenting with cameraless techniques led me to the cyanotype process, one of the rawest forms of photographic alchemy. Translating the markings of light and time into shades of blue, its strong signature colour is evocative of the sea.

Working initially out at the strandline, light sensitive materials are exposed to the elements. Flooded by creeping tides, part-buried in sandbanks, floated in tidal pools. Waves and wind, sunlight and sand, all leave their imprint; the tiniest of details permanently etched upon the papers. Each print is the result of a unique set of conditions at one particular moment in time – a fleeting representation of a transient landscape.

The process is unpredictable - I have limited control over the strength of wave action and the intensity of the light – but perceived ‘failures’ have led to further experimentation. The dynamic of a print is changed by layering, collaging or embellishment; hues and pigments shift away from the traditional Prussian blue. The cyanotype process continues to simultaneously frustrate and confound, excite and reward, but within the limitations of the medium, I have found freedom and inspiration….