Celestial Print Exhibition
7th October - 3rd February 2024
Sky, stars and the moon all feature in these remarkable prints by a selection of printmakers the gallery has never worked with before amongst some well-loved gallery favourites. This carefully curated selection of works by 4 inspiring printmakers will take you to fantastical dreamlands and allow you to escape into perfect moonlit panoramas.
Meet the printmakers featured in this exhibition...
OR8DESIGN is Owen Findley, who designs and hand screen prints all the artwork. The studio name has a long, boring origin story, but growing up in Sheffield, people use the term ‘orate’ for almost anything - a greeting, an agreement, an evaluation - anything! When my girlfriend and I moved ‘down south’, people commented on us using the term and it became a thing. As a self-deprecating assessment of my design skills - they’re orate - it became stylised as OR8DESIGN and stuck.
"Our prints are inspired by the great outdoors; the sense of joy and relaxation to get away from the city, away from technology and to embrace nature without distractions. Whether that’s a roaring fire in a peaceful cottage, ramblings through the open moors or getting lost in our local woodland, these prints intend to capture the joy of getting away from it all. Whenever possible, we jump in our campervan and head for the hills."
I am an artist, illustrator and silk screen printer based near Oxford. In addition to producing my own silk screen prints that are exhibited in galleries and held in private collections I have produced extensive commissioned work for a wide range of clients from Live Nation to Dr Martens and Goose Island Brewery among others. The majority of my work is hand drawn before I turn I produce a silk screen print, each one being hand pulled. Please do get in touch for gallery enquiries and commissions.
Since childhood Gerard Hobson has had a love for birds, animals and art. His love of wildlife saw him qualify as a zoologist from Bangor University in 1984 and then worked for a couple of years for Wiltshire Wildlife Trust as a botanist. Later he became an illustrator for them, working on leaflets and sign boards. Following relocating up north, Gerard worked for Yorkshire Wildlife and continued to develop his work on a freelance basis.
In more recent years he has turned his hand to woodcarving and these days focuses his attentions on print making having studied it in York. Gerard says… ‘I particularly enjoy the technique of linocut, which is similar to that of woodcarving and the result of this has been the series of linocuts of birds, hares, foxes that you can see on this website.’
"Representations of mapping, geometric symbols that represent the elements of nature and more abstract concepts about our individual finite existence find their way into my pieces. I tend to work around the idea that many of us have a sense of place and that this is influenced by both our natural environment and the people that surround us; particularly the relationships that we have with those people. My work is inspired by the natural world, and I am fascinated by the innate human response to nature. Despite the fact that many of us live detached from the natural environment in cities with lives governed by technology, we are still able to understand the powerful symbolism that nature depicts. We can relate to these themes with ease, understanding that a tree can represent stability and growth and that we associate the night sky with dreams, a connection to that which is beyond our reach and a contemplation of our place within the universe. My interpretations of the terrestrial and celestial environment focus on the connection between these two spaces. The symbols need little explanation, they are meant to be accessible to all; to illustrate the intrinsic human connection to nature. At the moment I am also working with a series of geometric forms called the Platonic Solids and polyhedral variations of these. Plato suggested that each one of these three-dimensional, regular forms represented an element of the natural world: fire, earth, water, air and the fifth element, difficult to define, became known as aether. A recurring theme in my work, aether was once thought to relate to the space beyond our planet or the celestial sphere. Although I embrace new media and digital methods in my work, I also acknowledge tradition and the importance of this in establishing our identity and idea of home. Notions of both familial and cultural tradition lie at the heart of my artistic practice and in many instances I am considering memory and knowledge and how this is transferred across generations. Many printmaking processes employed aid concept within the pieces as the permanent marks made by tools and techniques evoke ideas of retained memories and the repetition of images alludes to the idea of intergenerational traditions. Making use of traditional methods supports the idea that the learning that has gone before us, and the information that is passed through generations, are things that make up our unique environment and also contribute to our sense of place. My interest in the book as an object also makes reference to our cultural heritage, a traditional skill that relies on methods that have remained unchanged for centuries. In such senses, the process of bookbinding has become as important as the books themselves and the concepts behind them. Recognising the beauty and skill involved in making books is just as much part of the bound pieces I make. It is a slow process, and requires patience, concentration and practice, but it is calming and rewarding. The hand-bound book stands out in an age where we are used to fast results and machine-made objects. Materials and technique also play an important role in all the pieces I make, and I dedicate a lot of time to experimentation. This may be with paper, printmaking or even digital media. I like to push materials and combine techniques to understand how they can work in conjunction with one another. Often one piece of work will lead on to the next; my etchings are photographed to create my screen prints, and prints are reworked into end papers for artist’s books, cut paper pieces and sculptures. By bringing numerous complex processes together I feel I am able to produce unique, innovative aesthetic responses to the themes I am working with."
Please note the images below may not be works featured in this show. Once the show starts we'll be adding photos and a virtual gallery tour so you can explore what's on display and available for you to buy.