'Remote' - From Islay to Ireland;interpretations of wild shores and mysterious forests
From wild storm clouds and windy shores to dark, moody eerie forests, these new expressive pieces are inspired by the artist’s love of remote places. Especially created for The Craft Centre & Design Gallery Leeds, Lesley says; “It’s a privilege to display my work here in a space which shows such a commitment to printmaking.”
Lesley Birch - 'Remote'
Solo Print Exhibition
29th June - 26th October 2019
Lesley graduated from the University of Glasgow with an MA in English Literature and Music. Subsequently, she spent some years as a professional musician and teacher before learning printmaking first at Curwen Studios in Cambridge and then at Harrogate College, tutored by Ian Cale. Winter trips to Scotland as well as residencies in Wales and Cornwall inspire her work. She paints from her studio at home and in York City Centre at PICA Studios. Experimenting with a mix of monotype, drypoint and collagraph, each print is a unique work of art. Many of Lesley's prints have been selected for open exhibitions and have been sold to discerning collectors.
Lesley makes brief on-site sketches saying that sounds affect her just as much as shapes and colours; "I notice a line, a shadow, a brooding sky and a soft or wild wind. I try to capture the roar of the ocean on Islay or the eerie mood of a still forest.” Favouring a muted, earthy palette for this recent work, Lesley exploits the media of printmaking to suit her painterly style. “Monotype suits my purpose well. I can overlay brush marks on the plate again and again. And the white of the paper is as important to me as the image itself; just that leaving of space allows the eye to rest before darting around again.”
Lesley’s process moves between handmade monotypes without a press and intaglio drypoint monoprints using her Hawthorn Press made in Yorkshire. Her plates range from aluminium and plywood to plexiglass and even wax paper. She says; “I make drypoint marks on an aluminium plate – nothing too exact, but simply an expressive scratch or scribble which the ink picks up randomly. In the coastal pieces I like to make the plate rim less obvious, giving this feeling of openness, of remote space. In the forest pieces, the plate edge is clearly visible expressing this feeling of an enclosed space.” On the forest pieces, Lesley says; “I have always loved trees. They are presences with character in a forest. And often I see human figures, limbs and torsos entwined in the shapes.” The element of risk in the monotype process is something Lesley relishes. “It helps me convey the unpredictability of wind, rain and quick-changing skies. Colours and marks merge and I can move into abstraction, but still retain that recognisable feeling of landscape."
Studio photos by Eloise Ross Photography ©
“Anywhere empty and remote appeals to me and preferably in Autumn or Winter because I love dark, moody forests and changeable weather.”
Lesley hosted a special Meet the Maker event here on Saturday 24th August. If you missed it don't worry we took some photographs and a few of videos of the event. You'll find them at the bottom of this page. Enjoy!