This exhibition features a large collection of recent figurative and text based drypoint printworks, screenprinted artist’s books, and oil paintings.
The work in this exhibition began in the studio in spring 2011 and developed with a placement in the print workshop at Plymouth College of Arts where I was an artist in residence.
My practice is guided by the image. Painting and printmaking are worked alongside one another in the studio. This approach brings to light different sides of an image. The practices feed off one another until the image and format find unity.
After a long spell of painting in the studio I returned to my sketchbooks. Here, I found drawings of the images I had been painting and it was clear that many of these drawings were exactly what I was searching for. They stood as souvenirs of the images and ideas I had once visited. They expressed simply what I had been trying to achieve with my paintings.
My sketchbooks are a collection of pictures and texts that I have been attracted to. They encompass a wide field of reference drawn from films, newspapers, fashion magazines, diaries, comics, scripts, lyrics, signs, speeches and conversations.
I moved towards pulling images and texts out from the shadows of my sketchbooks and engraving them as drypoint prints. As the images unfolded, I found that printmaking gave them a unity, which made them suitable to be collected and edited into artist’s books.
While working at Plymouth College of Arts as artist in residence, I was fortunate to attend a talk by Solly Irving, a Jewish survivor of the holocaust, who was visiting the college as part of Holocaust Memorial Day. His message was simple to keep his story alive so it is not forgotten. This fed directly into my practice. I responded by making an artist’s book at the college titled Try and stay alive, which was a collection of texts from his talk.
The seed that Solly had planted grew into my practice. I spent the next six months on a journey collecting stories that had carried through the train carriages, from the passengers and staff on the Truro to Plymouth line. These sketches of train life were edited and selfpublished into screenprinted artist’s books.
My work is fuelled by scenes of isolation, vulnerability, seduction, revenge, confrontation, rejection, and exhaustion. These themes continue to run through my artist’s books, drypoint printmaking and paintings.
A quote that has become a companion to the images in this exhibition is by Dolly Parton.
“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”
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