Etchings for the Subconscious Mind

Naia Mann

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Etchings for the Subconscious Mind is a series of Intaglio prints that has come together over the past few months. The three prints that currently comprise the series are tied together through their material processes and their thematic exploration of gender, family and cultural identity. I like to think of the creation of these pieces as a process of layering. There is the combination of different etching processes on the copper plates which serve as the matrixes. Often the more figurative elements are achieved through hardground line etching and softground drawing etching. Textural and pattern elements are created through aquatint and softground etching of textiles. The material nature of copper allows for reworking and revisiting of the plates. Rather than thinking of these as part of a set edition of prints I have been viewing my recent printed work as capturing the plates in a certain state, one that may grow and shift in the future.

Nurse Stump, 2023
Intaglio Print (Hardground Etching, Softground etching of my sister’s suit, Softground drawing, Chine collé), 15″ x 22.5″

Over the past year or two I began to introduce softground textile etchings into my prints. Initially it was just a way of incorporating the patterns from Punjabi and South Asian textiles into my prints, as I had already been studying and copying those. I started using old suits, sarees and chunnis from my family, the more I worked with them the more integral they became to my work. Often the textures and patterns created with the fabrics are buried in the imagery of the prints, however using fabric owned and worn by members of my family embeds a personal and cultural importance in all the works. I have found that there is a difference between the patterns I draw and the ones I etch directly from the fabric. Even if the patterns I am referencing are the same as the ones on the fabric there is a reinterpretation that occurs. The two directions allow for different implementations into larger compositions, often pulling in undercurrents of my own relationship to my mixed heritage, those fabrics, the people who have worn them, and the position of gender within my cultural identity.

untitled, 2023
Intaglio Print (Hardground Etching, Chine collé, Spit Bite of textile from unknown family memeber), 10″ x 13

There are dreamlike and mystical elements present throughout my printed work. Often I find that these qualities allow me to explore heavier and more vulnerable subject matter without being too literal. In creating imagery that exists within this subconscious space I often find out what the work is about to me during or after its creation.

 ਭੈਣ , 2023
Intaglio Print (Hardground Etching, Softground drawing, Softground Etching of two of my Bebeji’s chunnis, Aquatint, Chine collé), 15″ x 15.5″

Naia Mann

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Naia Mann is an artist and musician born and raised in Surrey BC (Unceded lands of the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen, Qayqayt and Tsawwassen Nations) now residing in Vancouver BC (Unceded lands of the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations). She works primarily in Printmaking and with sound.