By Marc Alexander from his ‘Touch’ exhibition. ‘Reading Braille’, Pencil on 300g Archival Paper, 10cm by 14cm, (2013).
Braille is a system of raised dots that can be read with the fingers by people who are blind or who have low vision. Teachers, parents, and others who are not visually impaired ordinarily read braille with their eyes. Braille is not a language. Rather, it is a code by which many languages—such as English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and dozens of others—may be written and read. Braille is used by thousands of people all over the world in their native languages and provides a means of literacy for all.
The specific code used in the United States has been English Braille, American Edition but as of 2016, the main code for reading material is Unified English Braille, a code used in seven other English-speaking countries.
Braille symbols are formed within units of space known as braille cells. A full braille cell consists of six raised dots arranged in two parallel rows each having three dots. The dot positions are identified by numbers from one through six. Sixty-four combinations are possible using one or more of these six dots. A single cell can be used to represent an alphabet letter, number, punctuation mark, or even a whole word. This braille alphabet and numbers page illustrates what a cell looks like and how each dot is numbered.
After a long season of producing portraits in oils, I returned for a while to the humble pencil. The ‘Touch’ exhibition, which opened at the Studio Gallery Kalk Bay on Friday June 14th 2013 and ran until July 3rd, was the result of that experience – a true celebration of the beauty and expressiveness of the human hand.
Several months before this show, a group of us artists got together in the studio to work on life drawings, and for me, hands are one of the most difficult parts of the human body to draw, so I decided to master this challenge by producing one hundred detailed drawings. Friends, family and even casual acquaintances, modeled their hands for me and in each drawing I tried to capture the unique character of each individual.
A great deal could be learned about a person just by observing their hands. For example, the slight hand gestures of a person in love, or the anxious mannerisms of the addicted smoker clutching his last cigarette, or the telltale scars and callouses which belong to a hard working laborer. The hands are young and old, lined and smooth and endlessly expressive and tell a hundred stories which are all captured in my hyper-realistic style.
Many of Marc’s artworks are available as fine art digital prints. Professionally photographed and printed on large format inkjet printers, these prints are limited edition numbered bottom left and signed bottom right. The paper used is 320g Hahnemuhle archival watercolour paper or Van Gogh cotton canvas. The process employs fade resistant, archival inks, which boast a 100+ year fade-proof guarantee.
These prints are also available in varying sizes. The paper prints are sold plastic wrapped on an acid-free foamcore backing board. The prints on canvas can be provided stretched or rolled in a core for easy transporting. The canvas print is treated with a high quality scratch resistant matt art-sealant. Directly behind the stretched canvas print is a fixed board which gives the frame rigidity, prevents warping and ensures the frame hangs flush against the wall. Large frames are cross braced to further prevent warping.