Annabel Dover was born in 1975 in Liverpool, and has a BA in Fine Art from Newcastle University, MA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins, London, and a PGCE in Art and Design from University of Cambridge. Dover enjoys using a variety of media including photography, painting, drawing, video and cyanotype.There is a strong focus on objects, and the story and power behind individual items. Dover has created collections focusing on a wide range of objects and items, including weeds, toys, films and maps.
For the purpose of this blog post I decided to look at Dover’s collection ‘IWM Cyanotypes’, which captures and illustrates various items of clothing which represents a different viewpoint on war, above we can see what appears to be neckerchief, hankie and stocking. Cyanotype is a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print. Engineers used the process well into the 20th century as a simple and low-cost process to produce copies of drawings, referred to as blueprints.A snippet from Dover’s website reveals “My stepfather’s sock was sewn and mended by the German nurses who looked after him after he was shot down over the Black Forest. He hid his sock and scarf from the British nurses who burnt everything he had possessed in the POW camp.”
In response to the works of Dover I set about photographing some inanimate objects around the home. They do not hold on to a particular story or narrative, instead I specifically chose objects for which I liked the surface or material, some man-made and some natural. This was because looking at the cyanotype, the material itself becomes very important in how the image is transferred. Above: fluffy sock, resistance bands, exercise ball, cotton wash cloth, himalayan salt, and natural sponge.
In order to distort the images and recreate them in the style of Dover I modified the photographs on some digital software, inverting the colours. It doesn’t depict the images in the same way as Dover as she has used a cyanotype, however I think it has been very effective. It also allows me to pick out the light and darkness in the images in order to paint them. I have now ordered a cyanotype kit so I can experiment soon!
Here is the final assemblage of paintings. They definitely lack the depth achieved by Dover in her cyanotypes, and don’t hold on to a particular narrative or meaningful storyline. I do think though however aesthetically as a collection, with a variety of surfaces and shapes, they do look pleasing. I also especially like the shade of blue used on the background – its not as dark as the cyanotypes but it really allows the white and black to pop on the surface.