Last week I spent a couple of days with the four artists who have been commissioned to work at Double Elephant Print studio in Exeter for the next 18 months and explore the processes on offer there.
The artists are Katy Connor, Bryony Gillard, Mark Leahy and Clare Thornton. They hail from very diverse backgrounds and were selected from an open call.
The first week they spent together allowed for some collaborative work, including drama workshops with Fiona Macbeth at Exeter University Thornlea Drama Department.
Whilst the commission process does not require that the artists work collaboratively, it is possible they will either collaborate with others, either in the print studio or during their research.
My role is to observe and track their journey over the distance. Coming from a print background myself, but not having engaged with it for some time, it is challenging for me to step back and just watch – but I love seeing how people explore and discover processes and the intense discussions that take place.
Will they immerse themselves in the haptic alchemy?
Engage with the performativity of the process?
Baulk at the craft of it all?
Luxuriate in the language?
Rebel at the regimentality of the studio systems?
Explore the exquisiteness of the marks they make?
We shall see in good time, but for now it is wonderful to observe their focus and reflection on what this thing called printmaking embraces.
And embrace it they do…..
I was reminded of Munakata – a Japanese woodcut artist who produced some wonderful work