Martha Oatway is finishing up her time in the UK and will soon return home to the States. Be sure to mark your calendars for her tw0-person exhibition with her friend and UK printmaking, Tracey Hill, on view in December. For now, read on to see how Martha’s art has developed since she’s been across the pond!
My time in the UK is nearly over. My husband’s job brought us to Preston, UK in July of 2009. Preston is home to the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) which has a student body of 32000, making it one of the largest universities in the UK.
My first year here I joined Artlab, a group of artists from diverse backgrounds and interests that meet for 4 hours on Wednesday nights to explore printmaking. The printmaking studios at UCLan offer a wide range of facilities for etching, lithography, relief and screen printing.
It was through Artlab that I discovered Artists Access to Art Colleges, something unique to the UK. The AA2A project provides placement for artists in one of 31 institutions, providing 124 placements nationally. Each university has a different focus, sculpture, painting, etc.
UCLan has four placements in printmaking. I was accepted for the 2010/2011 year based on my project proposal which was to bring my US eyes to the UK landscape and make prints that express how I respond to it.
I am fascinated by the layers of living here in the UK. This island has been inhabited by many peoples over the millennia and many of them have left indelible marks on the land. A contemporary wheat field could also be home to Bronze Age circular burial barrows. Sheep graze among stone circles. There are hundreds of abandoned medieval villages which are only visible via aerial archaeology as they are now fields.
My latest prints are collagraphs layered with etching and paper lithography, sometimes incorporating chine colle. They are abstract maps and aerial views layering different scales of space.
You can see the prints I’ve made so far this year on my AA2A page where you can also vote for me if you wish. The winning artists from 2011 will be promoted on the AA2A websites, facebook and twitter pages.