Neo: Print Prize
Their critically acclaimed competition offers a prestigious showcase for visual artists working in the field of print-making, with an impressive list of sponsored prizes from art companies such as Intaglio Printmaker. There is also an opportunity to win a 12 week residency at Neo, £1000 of materials and a solo exhibition at the end of the residency.
Being just at the end of my 1st year of my BA degree, I knew this was well out of my reach, but still, it was extremely exciting to be asked to submit some work by Neo themselves. Simply the involvement in the competition, as well as the experience in submitting work to such a large art body was enough for me.
I had a large number of prints readily available from my 2D module that were part of a body of work from my trip to Berlin of my degree and submitted 3 of these.
I was delighted to have been asked to deliver one of my prints for consideration in the 2nd stage. If I got through to the 3rd stage, it would mean possibly taken part in the exhibition of Neo Gallery 22.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case, but I was still overwhelmed to have gotten that far and eagerly awaited the exhibition to open so I could see the high standard of work from print-makers around the world.
And I was amazed at how talented and beautiful these pieces were. From mono-prints to 3D prints, there was a fantastic mix of all mediums that inspired me to take my current Advanced 2D module forward. I always look for inspiration when viewing artwork, it has to really speak to me and I have to be intrigued at their method. Therefore, I picked some of my favourites from the exhibition that have made me wonder, in amazement and curiosity.
‘Muffin’ by Jonathan Ashworth is a woodcut print. I am yet to make a wood cut print but I am fascinated by the technique of reductive cuts and the prints make from the relief of the material left. The outcome is very different from any other type of printing and gives a graphic look to the art. What I liked about Muffin was the way Jonathan created different tones and shading in his work by multiple cuts that also created a sense of movement. It very much remind me of ‘Tin Tin’ animation. Jonathan has also been able to create the hair on the dog in differing tones which I always find difficulty in.
‘Equinox’ by Susannah Stark is a digital print. However, it’s not a photograph as you would imagine. It appears to be a photograph of a painting. As I’m interested in painting, photography and print, this really sparked some curiosity. I especially find the reflection on the glass and the smoke coming from it’s spout very impression.
‘Bed’ by Miran Sabic was no doubt was of my favorite pieces. I had just completed a series of etching in class (this is etching, aquatint) and instantly fell in love with the sketcherly process that you don’t normally get from a print. It combines both a drawing skill and an depth knowledge on how etching works to create an effective print. The detail in this etching is very fine, delicate and intricate. He’s created shading in the areas around the bed with what looks like a tool with not one shape point as I am used to, but 8, to weave multiple lines into each other. The bed and furniture is creative by vertical and horizontal lines to create simple yet inspiring shading and tone. The bed almost become a 3D object in the 2D world because of his use of straight lines to create the fabric of the bed sheets and pillars. I was even more stunned with the simplicity of the lamp but the effectiveness of its circular radius. What didn’t stand out so much in the print standing in front of it (or maybe it was because I was also touching it with my nose!) but what stands out now, is the wood grain in the bedbase! This etching has obviously took a considerable amount of time to draw out. Because of the print, I changed the way I etched my own prints at University.
‘Displaced Archive #103 and #106’ by Alison Timmins were a cellulose transfer print on found book pages. What’s quite remarkable that Alison Timmins is actually a former student from my University and had just completed her MA. I have had the fortunate opportunity to talk to her several times about her work and her influences. Her work is remarkable. In the first few weeks of my BA, I found myself constantly viewing a huge painting on one of the walls. There was many pieces in the art department but this one was everything that I’d hoped and thought Fine Art was. It was what I aspired to be, to paint. The technician had told me that she paint is a great masters method, which made the most sense to me. It was as if the painting belonged in the 15th century and was truly a work of fine art. Since then, I’ve noted Alison’s work and noted its photographic realism, which is one of my influences. Which is why I think this, Achive piece of work spoke to me. The simple images used to make a beautiful print and the medium used relates to a different time and space different to ours. It’s not surprising that work is noted NFS, not for sale.
During my study of her artwork from the photograph I took of her prints on my phone, I noticed something strange in the prints. As the print is an obviously vintage images, I had to look twice and three times. There is a helicopter in the distance! I’ve noticed that Alison confuses the viewer with her art by mixing various moments in time together, something to raise an ethical point to the way we live.
‘Aleppo’ by Jess Buglar was stunning. If any artwork can make me wonder how they have got from a blank piece of paper to a piece like that, it’s going to create an impression. This piece was a linocut, and again, as I’ve worked in this method, I found this print so intriguing because of th multiple cuts and prints needed to create this one print. What is the most interesting aspect is that it’s tonal print, only black, grey and white is apparent. What is even more interesting is that is an artist proof, usually kept by the artist as a trial print or a not so perfect print. The method and technique used in the linocut is perfect for this images because of the number of vertical lines to portray the many buildings, railings and windows. Linocut is usually a linear way of printing and this print is a perfect example of how linocut works.