Ella Sutherland is a Sydney-based, New Zealand artist and graphic designer, with an upcoming exhibition Recto Verso at Objectspace which examines how text and image are used to transmit information and ideas.
Recto Verso takes its starting point from Sutherland’s recent work as part of the Gwangju Biennale which sought to examine the printed matter produced from the biennale since its inception. Exploring what this might reveal about the event’s voice and self-image.
For Objectspace, Sutherland has worked with mechanical print production – printing produced using a master form or template such as a screen, plate or block. Recto Verso engages with the form and function of these analogue printing processes alongside their poetic potential to engage viewers. Considering how the evolution of printing technologies have impacted the dissemination of thought, such as through the digital mass production of pamphlets, posters or publications. Mechanical techniques have the capacity to reflect on politics of visibility – addressing how and by whom information is seen.
The paper and plate forms presented in Recto Verso draw on geometric proportions theorised by typographer Robert Bringhurst in his 1992 book The Elements of Typographic Style. Bringhurst illustrates page forms regarded intuitively as attractive, due to their relationship to the human body, music and the natural world. Such as the proportion and size of the printed page in relationship to how it may be held and used in the hand. Recto Verso continues Sutherland’s interest in the ongoing development of visible language systems that employ universal and idealised forms, and the power and potential of printed matter as a physical expression of the methods by which information is designed.