Tessa Asquith-Lamb & Mary Gillett
5th March - 25th June 2016
Group print exhibition with Tessa Asquith-Lamb and Mary Gillett.
Atmospheric prints by renowned printmakers Tessa Asquith-Lamb and Mary Gillett are displayed together in this group exhibition of etchings, collagraphs and mono prints. Tessa’s etchings reflect her love of stories and storytelling. Each image she creates is assembled from drawings in her sketchbooks of beautiful things founds in museums, remembered moments, carefully observed self portraits, and objects from her collection of Victoriana and childhood treasures. Mary’s images, many of Dartmoor and the North Cornwall coastline are contemplations on how our surroundings can reflect our histories, our moods and our thoughts.
Tessa Asquith-Lamb reveals more about the meaning behind her prints...
"My working methods involve sketching from antique objects either from my own collection or in museums in a set of small sketchbooks. These elements then get incorporated into my finished designs for etchings. These current works are part of a series I am working on called 'Reynard considers'. The prints 'Keep on Walking, it Gets Better' and 'Tokens of My Regard' show the fox I use in lots of my etchings (who I call Reynard) walking amongst things from my collection.
'Keep on Walking it gets Better'
The title of this print comes from a old fairground sign I saw in a museum of fairground rides. It was on the side of a 'cakewalk' ride where you have to walk over moving platforms. It struck me as an encouraging thought and I knew it would become an etching title. In the image Reynard is walking on stepping stones of old and loved books. I am a great book lover and have several writer friends, so the print is about how words support you and help you move forward. I also love how you often hide or find notes and letters in old books, so there are hints of hidden papers peeking from the pages.
'Tokens of My Regard'
This is an etching about love tokens and how they echo down to us from the past. I have a huge collection of old objects and those I love the most have hints of being treasured in the past. Reynard is walking along through cut paper branches (silhouette cutting is another part of my practice) and moving forward through objects tied to threads. These include an ancient stone brooch shaped like a heart, a Victorian wedding favour in the shape of gilded wheat ears and leaves, a Victorian silver cupid's arrow brooch, a branch of paper blossoms sent to me from Japan by a friend and little glass birds from my collection.
'Broken and Mended'
The etching called 'Broken and Mended comes from an 18th century Chinese blue and white dish with amazingly painted details. At some point in it's life the dish got broken and someone loved it enough to drill holes and rivet it back together. My etching incorporates this piece showing both the front and back, highlighting the repair. I love the idea that someone cared enough to keep it going through time until it got to me, and wanted to celebrate it's beauty in my art.
'Finding the Words'
This etching shows the feet of a Georgian lady and a fallen quill pen discovered by the fox amongst a garden of strange blooms. The flower designs come from 19th century ceramics. This print is about finding the right words in all situations, and is dedicated to Jen Welch, a wonderful American writer and friend.
I use a lot of arrows in my work, as I like the symbolism of them and the way they can lead the eye around a composition. Years ago I read how Georgian ladies would put small gold arrows through their hair at balls as if they had been struck by one of Cupid's arrows! I liked this idea a lot and it became a series of prints where the struck lady was either removing or replacing the arrow to use as weapon or defence. My more recent work has used cut paper arrows, in this case laid under the printed surface, and replicated in etched form. I like the fact that a paper arrow has all the symbolism but none of the danger or threat of a real arrow! In 'Arrow Vortex' the arrows swirl up from the hand as if caught or conjured there, like a drift of emotion."
Mary Gillett reveals the inspirations behind her prints...
"My starting points are often found on Dartmoor and on the north Cornwall coastline. Images are contemplations on how our surroundings can reflect our histories, our moods and our thoughts. I specialise in etching which is a medium that has been developed by artists for its own intrinsic qualities and is now often used to produce single images as individual as paintings.
My etchings almost look as if they have been eroded by the elements themselves. The metal plates have been scored and furrowed, scraped, burnished, re-scored and re-furrowed until their history is symbolic of the very subject that confronts me. This tactile immediacy is of the essence and combines with the use of light and dark to create images of intense atmosphere. My oil paintings and pastels are informed by the etchings but are often lighter in feel.
Recently I have been applying some etching principles to the medium of collagraph so that I can work on a larger scale and more freely. This development reflects my love of painting which continues to influence everything I do."