By Lucy Davidson and Christopher Pearson
Printmaking is becoming a more and more prevalent creative medium, and an art form which is particularly increasing in popularity in the culturally diverse city of Leeds. Only a couple of months ago the brand new Leeds Print Workshop opened offering a range of high quality training and facilities to those interested, in addition to a range of exhibitions, print fairs and classes available to see and participate in at venues throughout the city. This article aims to showcase the work of artists and students working with print both as a way to rethink and develop ideas, and as a technique with which to create resolved compositions.
LEEDS PRINT WORKSHOP
Clockwise from Top Left: Sleeping Under Rocks, Like Some Blind Beetles Part II by Luke Drozd, Exterior View of Leeds Print Workshop, A Selection of Work from a Heat Transfer Printing Class, Interior View of LPW
As a co-operative, Leeds Print Workshop is run with three core values: “democracy, equality, solidarity”, and aims “to establish and maintain a vibrant, supportive and sustainable printmaking community”. Now that the print hub has received more than £3000 in funding from their Indiegogo campaign, it provides a range of workshops and courses, comprising training in screen printing, collagraph, monoprinting, heat transfer, linocut, and even bookbinding.
“We act with concern for our community and work for its sustainable development through the collaborative nature of printmaking” – Leeds Print Workshop
To browse and book onto LPW’s spring courses and workshops follow this link: http://leedsprintworkshop.org/workshops-courses/
UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS ART & DESIGN OPEN STUDIOS
Above: Installation View of Sculpture by Lauren Goldthorpe
In addition to what is offered in the city centre, the wealth of printmaking in Leeds has recently been made apparent at the University of Leeds School of Design’s annual Art & Design Open Studios, which took place on the 7th December. Here prints were exhibited by students on the BA Art & Design course, ranging from technically skilful representations of the natural and urban environments of Leeds and further afield, to more abstract compositions exploring form, geometry, pattern, and our visual perception of colour and materiality.
Below we have included some examples of prints which caught our eye at Leeds Uni’s Open Studios event, spanning techniques such as screenprint, etching, monoprint, linocut, carborundum and more; as well as explanations of the inspirations, thought processes and ideas behind these bodies of work. Read on to discover more…
ETCHING: Bachittar Singh
Above: Hard Ground Etchings (some with Chine Collé)
Bach’s prints caught our eye due to the combination of vivid colour palettes and expressive observational drawings etched into each printing plate. Using a mix of traditional and unconventional inking methods, these prints juxtapose depictions of Leeds’ architectural scenes with flashes of bright and eye-catching highlights of colour, showing the city from a striking new perspective.
CARBORUNDUM: Emma Naylor
Above: Carborundum Prints from the Beauty Beyond the Imaginable Realm Series
Emma’s work caught our eye at Syndicut due to the way she has explored the transition between the imaginary and the discovered, incorporating abstracted marks which are inspired by an interest in galaxies, outer space and cosmology. With the carborundum process, Emma’s prints include planetary structures and bold shapes in deep black inks, in addition to a range of embossed textural surface qualities.
LINOCUT & COLLAGE: Georgia Simmonds
Above: Linocut Prints with Collage and Drawing from the Drawing, Making and Identity Series
Georgia’s seemingly abstract compositions are in fact composed of simplified forms and linear elements taken from Leeds’ diverse architectural landscape. Inspired to find and recreate urban features that are often ignored, Georgia’s prints combine the versatile print medium of linocut with collage and drawing, and aim to convey the city’s culture and vibrancy.
MONOPRINT & DRAWING: Nathalie Spencer
Above: A Selection of Monoprints and Drawings
Nathalie’s arrangement of prints and drawings also attracted our attention here at Syndicut due to her monochromatic investigation of nature and abstraction. This multi-disciplinary installation uses the monoprinting process to produce simplified compositions of bold but delicate forms in contrast to intricately detailed drawings of plant structures, exploring the relationship between light and shadow, and positive and negative space.
ETCHING & TILINGS: Lucy Davidson
Above: Hard Ground Etchings & Clay and Acrylic Tilings
Lucy’s practice is concerned with themes including the geometric patterns of Islamic tilings and the structural façades of inspirational architecture encountered while travelling in Australia. Through translating these influences into print and sculpture, Lucy has produced fascinating multi-layered etchings and three-dimensional tilings in a range of visually satisfying hues, displaying these in a complimentary coloured environment painted a comforting and warm peach colour.
ETCHING & SCULPTURE: Christopher Pearson
Clockwise from Top Left: Hard Ground Etchings with Chine Collé from ‘Sculptural’ Etchings Series, Various Pigmented Polyurethane Foam & Balloon Sculptures
Christopher explores space and form through his collections of colourful constellations. Concerned primarily with ideas of process and materiality, Chris has developed an intriguing dialogue between these planetary forms and his print ‘assemblages’. Many of these combine traditional printing processes to create new actions, allowing Chris to invent his own gestural process and extend his experiments across both two and three dimensions.
SCREENPRINT COLLABORATION: Christopher Pearson & Lucy Davidson
From Left: Screenprints: Gestural Assemblage I (Christopher Pearson) & Gestural Assemblage II (Collaboration: Lucy Davidson & Christopher Pearson)
Working collaboratively, Christopher and Lucy have combined elements of each of their practices to create this series of screen prints. Borrowing from Christopher’s catalogue of gestures, and Lucy’s preoccupation with pattern and geometry, they have explored the manipulation of space within the printed medium. This particular composition embraces aspects of the improvisational nature of Chris’s practice while integrating subtle layers of geometric motifs to explore the tension between order and chaos.
Artwork in Featured Image (Left to Right): Etching by Bachittar Singh, Carborundum by Emma Naylor, Etching by Lucy Davidson