Thursday, 8 April 2010

The Datamonger

As mentioned in my previous post, I was able to spend quite a large portion of the Easter weekend working on my Green Door print exchange submission; the Datamonger. This image came about as a result of a conversation I had with Georgia, fellow data analyst. I’d been telling her about a trip to the local fishmonger (what exciting lives we lead!) and she decided that as data analysts-cum-statisticians, we are datamongers.

I don’t know whether it was because I had a more sustained period of time in the studio over the weekend, which stimulated my creativity generally, but The Undertaker’s Nuptials is underway again. The Datamonger, purveyor of rare and exotic numerals, has entered the narrative now so more images are on the way.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

A printmaker's Easter

The few days over the bank holiday weekend have been quite intensely printmakerish and really rather good. As well as getting plenty of studio time to work on my Green Door print exchange submission (more on that later), I was able to see Urban Evolution, an exhibition of prints by Anne Desmet at St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery in Lymington. It’s an intimate space, ideal for her linocuts, wood engravings and collages, most of which focus on architectural themes. That’s an extremely inadequate way to describe the exhibition - Anne Desmet takes wood engraving to a whole new level – but I think I need to digest the exhibition catalogue before I can say more.

Today at Red Hot Press, I had the opportunity to see a demonstration of a new etching ground developed by Andrew Baldwin at Aberystwyth University. Sarah heard about the ground at last year’s Impact conference in Bristol and has been using it since with good results. The beauty of this ground is that it doesn’t give off unpleasant fumes like other liquid hard grounds and is therefore safer to use – a big plus for educational establishments and open access workshops. It doubles as a hard and soft ground too. It’s rolled onto the plate like ink and at this point can be used as a soft ground, or bake it on the hot plate for half an hour and you have a hard ground. It’s red instead of the traditional brown which makes working on and etching the plate easier too. Sarah’s not sure if it’s available commercially yet but she gives it the thumbs up so I hope to give it a go sometime soon.

Image: Anne Desmet, Deserted Pool VMB, linocut 2007

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