Preserve Print – Fourth Year Printmaking Students | Gray’s School of Art
At first glance, the content of the exhibition seems at odds with its title. Printmaking, like all traditional fine art disciplines, comes with a great history and therefore a certain set of rules. For me, as a seemingly primitive painter, printmaking is one of the more ‘technical’ specialisms. Yet many of the works on display do not resemble what we might imagine to be a traditional print. Some are not prints at all. Printmakers, as I’ve known them, have rarely limited themselves to printmaking exclusively, but work across many mediums and across disciplines – always testing the potential of their material. So I am not surprised to be greeted by a range of intriguing, fresh and lively artworks, each artist presenting their own very unique perspective and approach.
With a graphic style reminiscent of a dated sci-fi film poster, Sophie Will's 'Human Transceiver' seems to allude to a time when space represented a boundless, unquantifiable unknown, full of wonder and terror. In a world of advanced technology, Will's work seems to fall into that dark and mysterious void between the superstitious and the scientific, promoting an investigation into the unknown to invigorate our creative imaginations.
In Kirsty McKenzie's piece, a beautiful simplicity and power is found – in its purity of colour (white and black, at once seem to be the presence and absence of all things) and in its fundamental circular shape. Within these strict parameters, there is a subtle complexity of surface and theme. Human existence is documented through interaction with the material; the artist is revealed through the artwork's gestural physicality. The piece itself is one of honesty; it reveals itself, and its process, to the viewer. Delicate and tactile, it chronicles time between the maker and the artwork and (if one enjoys these small peaceful moments, counting the gently-woven threads) can pass some of this stillness onto the viewer.
On the other side of the spectrum in vibrancy, we have Caitlin Hynes' 'Flaming January'. Hynes' rich tapestry is a collection of narratives and personal myth; characters from life and from the media become enshrined in her bold work. The way in which she gathers subject matter is reflected in her production; her works, like the stories, are accumulative. The method by which the piece is augmented, enhanced and embellished touches on religious practice and the process of decoration and ornament as an act of devotion, thus giving what may be an ordinary event a special significance and allowing space for reflection.
Sculptural, organic, textural, colourful, painterly, photographic, geometric.
'Preserve' does not necessarily meant to limit or to stagnate. Preserving can be cherishing and honing traditions, methods and techniques and employing them with skill, altering or subverting them entirely.
Preserve Print is showing at Peacock’s Visual Arts, Aberdeen now until the 10th May 2014.