Size matters – what format and scale should my new work be?

I can’t believe I’m still questioning this – something I seem to return to repeatedly without settling on a definitive answer.

A square format is a possibility – democratically uniform, and a window onto the world. Alternatively, portrait / landscape is relevant to the proportions of the original postcards this series of work is made from. I print 3 images of varying sizes for both formats, mount them on a wall and consider. I think the square feels too neutrally uniform, and seems to consistently include details that feel as if they could be cropped out. In contrast, landscape offers horizontal movement and portrait a vertical dynamism, and both feel like a more honest, if slightly severe, crop that dispenses with the superfluous.

The scale needs to be intimate to counteract the large poster / billboard dimensions of my recent pieces. There must be sufficient space for the image to breathe and to allow the physical materiality of the collage materials to assert themselves. The original post card images at 81 x 130mm are too small to do this. But something 254 x 158 mm is sufficiently large to achieve my aims while remaining relatively intimate in scale. It’s capable of immersing the gaze at close quarters but looks modest in size.

I’ve made up 3 samples in this dimension as half-tone black and white prints. My print making is somewhat rusty but I’m spending a day tomorrow refreshing my screen printing skills. The aim is to find a way to produce the images on a variety of papers to add to the glossy c-types I’m currently using.

Claire Manning, 2013
Claire Manning, 2013

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