School of Art
Towers and Transformations – A retrospective exhibition25 January - 19 February 1999
Anne Desmet, born in Liverpool in 1964, was a student at the Ruskin School of Art in Oxford from 1983 to 1986; she subsequently studied at the Central School of Art and Design in London from 1987 to 1988 and held a scholarship at the British School in Rome from 1989 to 1990. She is now editor of Printmaking Today and a visiting lecturer in wood engraving at the Royal Academy Schools. Her wood engravings and other prints explore themes of architecture and metamorphosis.
Artist’s Statement“Following a year living in Italy, many of my works are inspired by architecture and landscape. My specific interest has become the multi-layered nature of cities where ancient ruins co-exist with twentieth-century apartments and TV aerials, where building sites imply change and development and where edifices are clad in scaffolding; these exoskeletons help both to describe and to disguise the nature of the structures beneath but also imply a process of mutation. With such suggestions of change – indicating both the passage of time and human intervention – my intention, often, is to demonstrate how past and present influence one another; and perhaps to provoke reflection about the dangers of environmental vandalism. I aim to create a sense of the interweaving of years of history – a type of metamorphosis which is a predominant theme in my work.
I often use a sequential format to imply time, change and chains of thought. Alternatively, I sometimes use several blocks of varying shapes and sizes on which I engrave the components of an image which is reassembled, like a jigsaw, in the printing. The white space between each block becomes an integral part of the finished print and its irregularly-shaped elements help, maybe to convey an idea of ancient and fragile fresco fragments, seemingly timeless yet fixed in time by the presence of contemporary cars or cement mixers. My collages are suggested by and develop the theme of my prints.