Postgraduate Printmaking in London 2016: a survey exhibition 31 Oct– 16 Dec 2016

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PRESS RELEASE:
Postgraduate Printmaking in London 2016: a survey exhibition
The Clifford Chance art collection is dedicated to the art of the print.
If questioned on why such a specialised focus on a medium, validation was afforded in a recently discovered quote from A. Hyatt Mayor, one of the legendary founding curators of the print department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. ‘I am happy to say that I was never specialised. One can’t be in prints. Because they leak out into everything; into city planning, into the law, into dynastic history, into all the technologies.’ Though such an expansive and all encompassing definition of print might be beyond Clifford Chance’s more exacting acquisition brief, as Jo Stockham, Professor of Print at the Royal College of Art, has noted ‘Print, when released from the burden of defending craft and tradition, can be seen as a vital way of understanding the mediated image and interdisciplinary thinking in an ever more technically driven world.’
The artists selected for this year’s survey exhibition of Postgraduate Printmaking exemplify this understanding of printmaking. As part of a wider practice that might incorporate video, performance, sculpture or painting, they utilise the techniques of printmaking to reflect, analyse and comment on the wider culture. Be it Mollie Tearne’s collages of footballers at play in a local park that unpick ideas about migration and displacement or Xiaoqiao Li’s more personal response to relocation, a subjective portrayal of time experienced living in a new city. Wuon-Gean Ho’s richly coloured woodcuts contain echoes of Japan’s Floating World, as depicted in the prints of Hiroshige and Hokusai who famously sought to portray movement in a static image. Her references to art history are mirrored in Molly Rose Butt’s prints. Specifically in her tower image which is sourced directly from Heironymous Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights but also her knowingly proto-Cubist treatment of an experienced landscape. Material traces are apparent in the prints of Anna Paterson and Alisha Mir. The process of art production, the physical substances that make art are, in Anna’s work, serially manipulated until an image emerges on the surface. Alisha’s etched steel plates are as much an art object as the impression she pulls from them. Caro Halford contorts the omni-present fashion and lifestyle image, subverting it with irreverent cuts or appendages, adding mordant texts. Jonathan Michael Ray’s prints embrace all facets of print production – from the historic to post-internet – to portray contemporary identity, inspired by ‘the tragic beauty of living.’
Molly Rose Butt, Caro Halford, Wuon-Gean Ho, Xiaoqiao Li, Alisha Mir, Anna Paterson, Jonathan Michael Ray, Mollie Tearne
This brochure contains a short statement that the artists have written about their work. This should not negate the purely visual aspect of their output but illustrates some of the intellectual, conceptual and emotional insights into their use of printmaking processes in their art.
We are delighted that Stanley Jones has agreed to judge the award of the Clifford Chance Purchase Prize 2016, and to open the exhibition. With his lifelong dedication to the art of the print, both as an artist and master printmaker, he brings an unrivalled wealth of experience to the task. Since his student days at the Slade in the 1950s and through setting up the famous Curwen Studio in 1960s, Stanley has collaborated with artists such as Giacometti, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Paula Rego and many, many more to make prints. We are privileged that he has offered us his expertise and knowledge.
Nigel Frank

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