Thursday, 1 April 2010

Originals 10

I paid my annual visit to the Mall Galleries on Saturday for
Originals 10, the top UK open exhibition for contemporary printmaking in which works by em
erging talent hang along side those of established printmakers and members of the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers. Virtually every printmaking technique is covered from etching (check out Martin Ridgwell and Mychael Barratt), wood engraving (Hilary Paynter was on excellent form as usual), linocuts (Gail Brodholdt and Angie Lewin) and mezzotints (Martin Langford) to collagraphs, screenprints, digital and lasercut works.

In past years the show has felt a bit samey; same people showing the same kind of work, but this year, there seemed to be much more of a range of techniques and styles. In Venetian Diary III, Mila Furstova had wrapped her etchings of Venetian buildings in sheets of clear acetate covered in handwritten text, rolled into tubes. Jenny Smith’s Circles II and Circles IV are laser cut screen prints, combining a traditional printmaking technique with the relatively new technology of laser cutting. Carol Hensher specialises on printing on fabric; My fingers grasp at floating feathers comprises four white silk evening gloves with hands printed on them using lithographic methods. Fiona Hepburn cuts out hundreds of tiny woodcut and screen prints and fixes them in clusters using pins to create intricate fungal and bacterial forms.

My own tastes are more traditional; I find myself drawn to figurative works with something of a narrative in them. Personal favourites were Jessie Brennan’s Six Boys, Catherine Anne Hiley’s Untitled I (Dietrich) and Untitled III (Orhan), and Katherine Jones’s Magenta Strip. These are just a few; in a show like Originals, there are so many prints to look at it can be quite overwhelming.

Whilst there, we had the pleasant surprise of bumping into Katherine Anteney, one of the directors of Red Hot Press Printmaking Workshop here in Southampton. She made an interesting comment that the show was very ‘black and white’ this year; more monochrome prints than in previous years maybe. Presumably that was just the way the selection went but it would be interesting to know if the selectors were aware of this at the time. And speaking of Red Hot Press, our very own Wendy Couchman, one of the members, had a print included – congratulations Wendy!

All in all, it was a really interesting show this year, well worth a visit. Shall look forward to Originals 11.

Katherine Jones, Magenta Strip
Catherine Anne Hiley, Untitled III (Orhan)
Jessie Brennan, Six Boys

1 comment:

  1. Need to find something to look forward to before 11! I did my own post (as you know) at