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ImPORT/exPORT Artist Exchange

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SWANSEA PRINT WORKSHOP

imPORT/ exPORT

EDINBURGH PRINTMAKERS

       Supported by the Arts Council of Wales import export cover

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 Click on the cover to see the catalogue.This artist exchange drew to a close with the opening of the exhibition in Edinburgh. This has been an immensely useful and enjoyable project for all concerned. New opportunities were created and new friendships formed. Technical information was shared and put to good use.

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Import/ Export Exhibition at Edinburgh Printmakers    September 8 - 28   2011

Swansea artists in Edinburgh for the opening of the Import/Export exhibition

 


The Import/Export project was conceived to give eight printmakers the opportunity to develop both professionally and practically within the context of a cultural exchange.

 

Through the dialogue between the artists and the members of both Workshops, it was hoped that a more connected relationship between the two Print Workshops would also be established.

All members from both Workshops were invited to apply, and four artists were selected by each hosting organisation from submitted work and proposals which were already demonstrating a wide range of approaches and perspectives on the theme: Import/Export.

The four artists representing Swansea Print Workshop – Susan Adams, Bill Chambers, Michael Goode and Robert Macdonald - took up their Residency at Edinburgh Printmakers over ten days between 15 and 26 May 2011.

The artists were warmly welcomed by Edinburgh Printmakers; enjoying a meal hosted by Gill Tyson, one of the Edinburgh Artists, giving all the participating artists chance to get to know each other.

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They also participated in a ‘meet and greet’ social evening put on by Edinburgh Printmakers – and had the opportunity to meet other members of the Workshop and to talk about their work and process.

The Swansea Print Workshop artists explored the city. Each with their individual take on the theme, they were drawn variously to old and new, contemporary and ancient - looking at modern and medieval architecture, the history of immigration and imported plants.

After a thorough training induction day, the artists then made the most of the well-equipped studio that Edinburgh Printmakers offers.

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Bill Chambers found having the opportunity to work at Edinburgh Printmakers – ‘a great privilege’ and Susan Adams called the studio – ‘Printmakers Paradise’.

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The four artists who were working with a variety of printmaking techniques including digital, screenprinting, etching with softground, aquatint and photo-etch, enjoyed the technical support of highly regarded printing specialists Gillian Murray and Bronwen Sleigh throughout the Residency.

It was an opportunity for the Swansea Artists to both experiment and re-evaluate their existing methods of working.  Robert Macdonald learned softground techniques which have ‘opened up new pathways’ for his printmaking while Michael Goode gained confidence to be ‘more experimental in applying images and text.’

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The simpler and more effective photo-etching techniques and materials which Edinburgh Printmakers use have been brought back to Swansea Print Workshop and are now being offered as standard practice in the studio, benefiting the membership as a whole.

The selected artists from Edinburgh Printmakers arrived in Swansea on 29 May to take up their ten day Residency.  Artists John Heywood, Ruth Nay, Kelly Stewart and Gill Tyson had all found accommodation in the Marina and this was one of the areas of Swansea which drew their focus for the project.

Swansea’s industrial heritage was another aspect which the artists responded to and renowned artist George Little and archivist Richard Porch were generous with their time and knowledge when showing them around the old Copper Works at Hafod.

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Robert Macdonald, a director and participant in the project, took the artists out to Mumbles and hosted a day in Brecon.

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Early on in the Residency the Edinburgh artists had the opportunity to meet other members of Swansea Print Workshop and to talk about their work.  The social evening for the Artists Talk was well attended and other members shared their knowledge of the area including member Rose Davies who was able to give tips to Gill Tyson on Dylan Thomas, a particular interest to her.

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The challenges of a more intimate space and different equipment faced by the Edinburgh artists meant that they sought new avenues and approaches to their usual ways of working.  Artist Liz Jackson provided full-time technical support to the artists throughout their Residency and this proved invaluable to the artist, Ruth Nay remarking that it was as if she had ‘an extra brain that worked differently’

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Kelly Stewart discovered the ‘joys of monoprinting’; Gill Tyson who works mainly in lithograph saw this time as an opportunity to experiment in etching as Swansea Print Workshop doesn’t offer lithography.  Since returning to Edinburgh she has been combining use etching with some lithography techniques.

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The new Screenprinting press which was part-funded by the Arts Council of Wales through the project, was vital during the Residency and two of the participating artists made the most of the new equipment.  Volunteers of Swansea Print Workshop have raised matched funds of £2500 for the press, through a programme of fundraising activities, including on-line Print Auctions, print sales, a raffle and printmaking workshops.

There was also the opportunity for members to work alongside the artists during open access times. It was energising for the studio to see such intensive work going on. The Edinburgh artists also appreciated being able to spread out in the Drawing Room as their work developed and the advantages of 24/7 access.

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An exhibition of work from the participating artists opened in ‘The Drawing Room’ gallery at Swansea Print Workshop on Tuesday 9 September 2011.  Over sixty people attended the private view and visited over the subsequent weeks of the exhibition

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Gill Tyson and Ruth Nay represented the Edinburgh artists at the opening and made the most of their very brief stay – taking the opportunity to visit the National Art Museum of Wales in Cardiff and to catch up with members who have now become friends.

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The exhibition travelled to Edinburgh Printmakers and opened on Thursday 8 September.  Three artists – Robert Macdonald, Susan Adams and Bill Chambers represented Swansea Print Workshop and Robert Macdonald took the opportunity to book some time to work in the Studio

 


 

Four artists from Swansea Print Workshop and four artists from Edinburgh Printmakers were selected to take part in a 10 days Artist Residency as part of an artist exchange between the two Print Workshops.

This cultural exchange supported the professional and practical development of the eight artists and allow each one to establish connections and challenge perspectives within the theme Import/Export as they take an individual approach to the culture of the visited city.

Working in the technique or techniques of their choosing, the artists have expressed their interest in diverse subjects such as the migration of people, the importation of flora to exploring the natural and corporate landscapes of the cities.


 


At Edinburgh Printmakers

The artists from Swansea were in residence at Edinburgh from Sunday 15 May until Thursday 26 May.  They were welcomed at Edinburgh Printmakers on Monday 16 May where they took part in an induction day.

Following that the artists worked with technical support from print specialists Gillian Murray and Bronwen Sleigh.

There was a social evening on Thursday 19th May at 6.30 p.m. for all members of Edinburgh Printmakers and the visiting artists to meet and talk about their work.

Susan Adams      Bill Chambers     Michael Goode     Robert Macdonald

 


At Swansea Print Workshop

The artists visiting from Edinburgh were in residence at Swansea Print Workshop from Sunday 29 May until Wednesday 8 June.

John Heywood    Ruth Nay    Kelly Stewart    Gill Tyson

 


SPW are delighted to welcome back Liz Jackson, a previous artist in residence at the Workshop who will be providing the technical induction on Monday 30 May and technical support to the artists throughout their stay.  Liz’s artwork is of an extremely high standard of professionalism and SPW feel confident that she will enhance the visiting artists experience of the residency.

 


There was a social evening on Tuesday 31 May at 6.30 p.m. for all members of Swansea Print Workshop and the visiting artists to meet and talk about their work.

imPORT/ exPORT Exhibition

The work created during the project was exhibited in The Drawing Room at Swansea Print Workshop from 9 August until 1 September. The private view was on Tuesday 9 August

The exhibition then travelled to Edinburgh Printmakers where it was be exhibited from 8-24 September.


SWANSEA ARTISTS

Susan Adams

 

 

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I studied Fine Art at Norwich and the Slade Schools of Art and later gained an MA in Electronic Arts at Middlesex University.  I exhibit internationally and have held a number of prestigious Artist in Residency positions including those at Gloucester Cathedral, Millay Colony for the Arts New York, Welsh National Opera, Bardsey Island and Shaftesbury Abbey.

I use a range of media including printmaking, painting, polychromed wood and video.  The imagery explores the relationship between fantasy and lived experience and the locations in which these two worlds collide.  I am interested in the uncanny, the half-alive as manifest in objects like puppets, automatons, sites in which the mechanical and the organic find an uneasy relationship.

For the exchange with Edinburgh Printmakers I shall be building on recent imagery developed for my major solo exhibition at MOMA Wales There are Receivers in the Woods.  I began to explore our relationship with wireless technologies, finding a visual parallel with the hermit saint in isolation looking to the sky for special knowledge.

I am fascinated with the subterranean area of Edinburgh which was inhabited by the very poorest during the industrial revolution.  Somehow I would like to work that into the imagery, especially as the gap between the haves and the have-nots is widening rapidly at the moment; an important theme in much science-fiction is the forgotten underclass living almost like animals.

I shall be working with etching techniques, principally acrylic resist, alternative etching and photo etching during the exchange. 


Bill Chambers

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 I am interested in new technologies and how these can be integrated into existing printmaking processes. My work reflects many influences, not least of which is my association with India, Rajasthan and my continuing engagement with the world of textile design and printing. The prints that I make and my job as a teacher of printmaking skirt the realms of craft, technology and fine art in equal measure.

This year I have been given an Arts Council of Wales Creative Wales Award. The project will involve experimenting with new media by working in collaboration with staff of the Contemporary Textiles Course at UWIC. The intention is to create new works by experimenting with digital stitch, laser cutting and digital print in conjunction with existing processes. This project is based on the architecture and urban environment of Newport and will culminate in a catalogue and exhibition at the Riverfront Arts Centre in Newport.

I am fascinated by all aspects of architecture and the inner city, so it will be hugely exciting for me to explore the many sides of Edinburgh. I hope to discover places and buildings that reflect the theme of the project so will begin by looking at the harbour and evidence of Edinburgh’s industrial past. I am also interested in the corporate side of the capital and will be seeking out buildings and interiors that stand for the city’s business and financial life.

The chance to make work at the Edinburgh Print Workshop is a privilege and a huge opportunity. I look forward to being introduced to this highly regarded centre for print and can hardly wait to start.

 

 


Michael Goode

 

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I will take this opportunity to visit the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh to create work with a focus on the natural environment of plants, trees and flowers combined with a study of the glasshouses that contain the plants.

I hope to spend time drawing and photographing the various plants and greenhouses and even creating work onsite. I would like to study the plants shape, texture and colour and explore their relationship with the architectural features of the glasshouses, palm houses and other buildings in the garden.

I am interested in how plants from across the world have been imported and exported between different countries and national plant collections and will investigate the origins of the plants and how they arrived at the Royal Botanic Garden since the early 19th Century through the endeavours of plant collectors, conservationists and plant specialists for research purposes and to add to the existing collection.

I would like to use collagraph techniques to create a series of large scale pictures, using line and texture. I would also like to create a series of small two / three colour screenprints of individual plants and flowers that would show the vibrant colours, shapes and patterns of the exotic plants and flowers.

 


Robert Macdonald

 

 

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Before I was able to go to art college I had an earlier career in journalism, and I began my working life on a small country newspaper in New Zealand. I spent my first year pulling and reading galley proofs, writing articles, wrapping up newspapers and sweeping up lead dust surrounded by presses and linotype machines and ink-stained printers. The process of printing fascinated me and it was natural that when, eventually, I left New Zealand and enrolled as an art student at the Central School of Art in London, that I should find myself most at home in the etching and blockprinting workshops at the Central. Merlyn Evans was in charge of etching and the approach of his department was deeply influenced by the ideas of his friend Stanley William Hayter. In my year at the Central I began showing etchings in the St. George Gallery, Cork Street, and was represented in the first printmaking exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery. Although my lack of finances forced me back to journalism I returned to the Central School printmaking workshop whenever I could save up enough cash to give up regular work. As a very mature student I was able to take a diploma in advanced printmaking studies at the Central in the early 1980s, and although after moving to Wales in 1989 my special interest in printmaking had for a time to be abandoned, it has begun to blossom again since I discovered in Wales the resources of the Swansea Print Workshop.

My own personal background leads me directly to a possible area of visual exploration to fit in with the project – IMPORT/EXPORT.  I would like to focus on the idea of the import and export of people, as historically political and social upheaval and migration have affected both Scotland and Wales, Edinburgh and Swansea (and been the major shaping influence in my own family history).

As my name indicates, my family background on my father’s side was strongly Scottish and my paternal grandmother was a native Gaelic speaker from the Isle of Lewis. However I grew up from the age of 10 in the far north of New Zealand, living in a farming community established in the 19th century by Highland Scots who travelled to New Zealand in a fleet of six sailing ships from Nova Scotia. Known as the Waipu settlers, many of the founders of this settlement were refugees from the Highland Clearances. My paternal grandfather was born in Southern Ireland and his family claimed descent from Jacobite Macdonalds who fled to Ireland after the battle of Culloden.  My mother was a South African whose parents travelled in ox wagons when young from the Eastern Cape to settle in the Transvaal.

Movement, travel and upheaval are etched deeply into my own consciousness and I would hope to reflect this in my work – in a series of prints combining people, landscape and a sense of journeying.


 

EDINBURGH ARTISTS

 

 John Heywood

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I have been a member of Edinburgh Printmakers since the mid-80s and worked almost exclusively in Etching. We used traditional methods for a number of years before progressing to safe etching techniques 15 or so years ago. My work has been influenced by this process and I have moved from drawing directly onto the plate to currently using a combination of photo etching and drawing through a ground. I am currently interested in drawing directly from life and then converting this into an etching via the photec process.

My work has always been drawing based. I like to capture an atmosphere in the image and re-create a time of day or a moment in time. This helps the viewer connect with the work and makes for a shared experience. A work which has always stuck in my mind was a small oil painting by Corot of a farmer driving some cows from a field in the early morning; I think it was called “early morning”. He simply managed to capture a moment in time some 150 years ago and you are there with him. That is what I aspire to in my work


 

Ruth Nay

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 Drawing is fundamental to any work that I do. I generally find somewhere to draw and return to a few sites over a long   period of time. The act  of  being  situated allows  me  to  make  drawings , prints and  paintings .

I  also enjoy the layering of  images , being  situated  outside,  returning  to  same  place  to  further  notice  and   go deeper  with  my  noticing.  I think I am trying to understand through drawing initially then in making paintings there is a stage where the painting itself takes over and everything  one  knows is  not enough. Somehow this  is the  crux  of  my  creative  practice  and  an aspect  I  would  like  to  explore  further

Throughout my  development as an  artist  I  have  become  very  enchanted  with the  act  the  possibilities intrinsic in the  material itself. My area of experiment concerns the ability of the material itself , both to  be controlled and  the complete preposterousness of trying to control inert substances to  represent  living  experience.

I enjoy the spillages , accidents and  interruptions that  often  are openings to  another  way  of  understanding and  creating  images.

I am  interested in  different  processes and  the  opportunities inherent  in   etching ,  screenprinting etc for  making  creative decisions whilst  working  on  an  image.

I  enjoy  the  play  between  what  is  observed and  hard won  through  constant  looking and  the  abstraction that  seems to  lie underneath the  surface.

I  based  my  application  about  coming  to  respond    to a  particular  place through   drawing  as  impetus  for  new  work including  elements  of  screen printing and  etching  .  I would like  to  base   my  response  to  the  act  of  travelling to a  place  everyday  to  make  works .  part  of  my  ideas  would  be to   establish a  dialogue  between  my  work and  that  of the  other artists  there . This  may  be accomplished  by  drawing  on  the  same  site ,  going  for  field  trips  to  notice  things .

I  would  like  to   work  really  hard  on  drawing   directly  onto  plates  perhaps  working  on   dry  point outside ,  making  mono- prints,  and  also  the  gestural  qualities  of  screen  print  in  as  a  basis  for   the   next  days  work .  I  imagine  I  will  be  very excited  by  seeing  new   places  and  am  already  looking  at  maps and  wondering  what  it  will  look  like , what it  will  be  like .

I  got  quite  excited   last  night  about  Neath  sounding  like  Leith  and  being  docks   and  about  the  same  distance  as  Edinburgh  docks  are  from  the  Centre  of  Edinburgh.  I kept thinking about duality and what it could mean.

One  of  the  ideas  I  find  most  interesting  is  interrupting  drawings  but also  how  interruptions are  new  points of departure .


 

 

Kelly Stewart

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  With a passion for traditional European architecture I have been inspired to visit and draw many cities throughout Europe. I have focused on the style, shape  and intricacies of the buildings to draw attention to it’s individual, unique and most beautiful qualities. I found I craved more of an organic line to draw and push the work to introduce abstract qualities as a way of loosening the line and the overall drawing. I began drawing animals and boats. Boats in particular feature organic forms in the bow, the ropes, the curve of the windows and safety rings to name a few.  In terms of artistic development I am always looking to loosen my drawing style whether it be through the medium or the subject matter.

 

 

Drawing and printmaking is the inspiration and essence of my work. I start with a drawing and develop it through a series of layers in the silkscreen print process. The layers can consist of textures, handwritten text, computer text or graphic patterns. My layering process involves up to 20+ different transparencies which are mostly hand generated and then overlaid via silkscreen. In recent years I have shifted my focus from the drawing component to the actual printmaking process and the mark making it generates. Prints became a combination of drawing and abstract qualities. In this import/ export project I would like to produce a series of black and white drawings with an aim to producing a 5-6 colour print which involves drawing but with a greater significance to abstract, expressive qualities. This project will enable me to explore this concept of drawing organic forms into abstract mark making through the subject matter of boats. This will be a challenge by making a shift to a more abstract outcome.

 

 

 


Gill Tyson

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 My main practice is in lithography, concentrating on the richness of expressive marks within this medium, which I often combine with screenprinting, building up layers of colour to create a depth and intensity in deceptively simple and distilled imagery. My work has been likened to “painting in slow motion”.

I am drawn to remote, often bleak and harsh, environments - places as diverse as Orkney, The Lofoten Islands and the Namib Desert. I look for incidents of manmade presence in places that are in some ways inhospitable. It’s often a seemingly out of place marker in the landscape; a circus poster on a telegraph pole by the Arctic Sea, a kilometre marker in the Namib Desert. My last exhibition, called It’s The End Of The Road, was a series of images looking at places where the road runs out; a pier collapsed into the sea, a remote community on the west coast, an abandoned signal station in Donegal.

I propose to respond to the sense of place in Swansea and the surrounding area, looking particularly at its relationship to the coast and the sea; Swansea and Edinburgh share a closeness to their respective coasts and it is this affinity I would like to explore.

From Edinburgh you can quickly find yourself in deserted spots and the sea is ever present in the vistas seen from the centre of town or from one of the seven hills.  The connection with its broader location influences and informs what it is like to live in a coastal city; it helps to put the preoccupations and distractions of city into context.

I’m looking forward to exploring Swansea and the surrounding area, camera and sketchbook in hand, and returning to the studio to translate these impressions into, I hope, evocative images in print.