The following is from Martha Oatway, WPG artist and President currently splitting her time between the States and the UK. Read on about her experiences with the British print scene!
While in London during September 2010 I visited the Alan Cristea Gallery in Cork Street and fell in love with Paul Winstanley’s prints. The show, “Everybody Thinks This Is Nowhere” was comprised of new monoprints, watercolors, paintings and a series of etchings he published with the gallery in 2008.
The gallery’s press release describes the show, ” The centrepiece of the show will be a monumental series of 50 hand-painted etched monoprints made at Thumbprint Studio in London. In this series Winstanley took the idea of the landscape image and developed it, making four new plates in sugar-lift aquatint and hand painting each image in different colours. The group will be installed on one wall of the gallery, creating a multi-hued forested panorama.”
The effect of 36 prints hanging three deep and 9 across the rear wall of the gallery was just breathtaking. Winstanley used only four sugar lift etching plates but by working both with background color and mixing color on the etching plate he created a series of very different feelings, moods and seasons. He arrived at the printers with four etching plates and a set of pre-mixed acrylic colors for the backgrounds. There are two background colors per image, one for the top and one for the bottom. He then mixed another two colors of ink on the etching plate.
The resulting images create vastly different moods within the prints. So much so that at times I had to remind myself that there are actually only four etching plates used within the body of work. The effect of the background color with the ink on the plates can change the time of day or even the time of year. The quality of the progressive sugar lift etching with its light and dark areas creates great depth.
The Alan Cristea Gallery at 31 & 34 Cork Street in London is a must-visit for any printmaker going to the city. I’ve been twice now and am a fan, there are always wonderful prints to view.