I’m just framing the new prints, for the 12PM show at Church St. gallery in a week. They are the first prints I’ve made from the drawings I did at the Royal Opera House. I’ve combined drypoint with monoprinting – juggling hard with soft, tight with loose. I’ve also used the different viscocity of inks to direct (somewhat) the mixing of tone and colour. In reality there’s very little ability to repeat from one pull to another so it’s painting by other means, which is completely ok with me.
This printmakers obsession with repeatability has been troubling me for some time. Mostly because I suspect it’s largely generated by galleries and dealers rather than by artists. If you are going to make money out of selling art you need to control availability. The best artists for this are obviously dead, but if they aren’t then numbered editions are a close second. We are told it’s about legacy, the same reason why some materials are called ‘archival’. I’d say work gets ‘archived’ when we think it’s good, it has less to do with materials than we assume. Work on the scuzziest materials are conserved if the work is good enough. Take Constables wonderful oil paintings on bits of cardboard. Because they are intense and zing with energy and because they are the first thought through example of oil painting that escaped the easel they have been kept in pristine condition.
We need to re think what we mean by ‘legacy’ anyway, and admit to ourselves where the ‘archive’ is now. It’s getting less likely to be in a hand made piece of paper and more likely to be in a data farm hidden away on one of the ‘flyover ‘ states like Nebraska. All our doings, our legacy, will be there until the power gets cut. I’m really not sure how I feel about this, but there it is. For me, the ideal of repeatable prints has less gravitas that it did. My way of dealing with that is to do the best work I can and leave the ‘archive’ to others. The show at Church St. gallery will be much easier to find that the data farm which holds my ‘legacy’ -
Church St. Gallery Saffron Walden UK
PV : Thursday 26 April 6.00 – 10.00pm. 17 Church Street, Saffron Walden, Essex CB10 1JW. Tel: 01799 522947 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org