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Jane Slade - MFA examination exhibition

Start Date

May 1, 2017 12:00 pm

End Date

May 10, 2017 5:00 pm


Plimsoll Gallery

Poem number 124

Visualizing the material folds and sacred spaces in Emily Dickinson’s poem, through printmaking.

Jane Slade, Banner series | Members of the Resurrection


This investigation has sought to develop a visual language to evoke the experience of the sacred space, as expressed through Emily Dickinson’s poem 124, Safe in their Alabaster Chambers. I propose this poem refers to a fluid space where the imaginings of the soul and the body co-exist. I draw an analogy with Emily Dickinson’s poem where in the first stanza the mortal body is enclosed within an earthly chamber whilst the ethereal wanderings of the soul are imagined through the second stanza. There is a separation between the two stanzas, but fluidity is indicated between the spaces and dashes she employs in her poem.  Gilles Deleuze’s concept of the materiality of the fold, allows it to be used as a visual tool denoting the fluidity of matter, and the ephemeral state of the ‘soul’.

I employ printmaking processes to suggest such a space. Through my mode of working I have echoed the poet’s modus operandi, as conjured up by Dickinson’s poem through echoing the dashes, which punctuate the poem with the fragmentation of text, and re assembled torn prints as an echo of the pieces of envelope where Dickinson wrote some of her poems. Dickinson’s practice of pressing flowers onto the surface of the paper, then between the pages of the book, are echoed through the drawn image on the lithographic stone, which is pressed onto the paper by the printer’s press.  In order to manifest Dickinson’s sacred space I have employed materials such as Japanese tissue as stencils, and transparent inks, in a process, which involves peeling back the layers of the visual surface.

The project has been influenced by the idea of New Materialism through proponents, such as Karan Barad.  She proposes that the rereading of older texts allows for new understanding of the ‘entanglements’ of matter and meaning, thus providing a contemporary context to Emily Dickinson’s poem where the ‘entanglements’ of language are enfolded through the processes of my printmaking practice.

Rather than illustrating Dickinson’s poem in a literal way, my work seeks to evoke the conflicted feelings aroused by Dickinson’s poem as she grapples with her ambivalence about religion and the expectations of her gender. The modus operandi of the poet has allowed me to bring new ways of interacting with my print practice, further contributing to the challenge of how to make the ‘invisible’ visible through the idea of sacred space.

Exhibition dates: 1 - 10 May 2017

Gallery Hours: Wed - Mon 12pm - 5pm during exhibitions

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