School of Art
Looking out to sea23 October – 1 December 2006
Prints by Penny Brewill, Stephen Chambers, Katie Clemson, William Crozier, Dennis de Caires, John Dougill, Matthew Hilton, Vanessa Jackson, Brigitte Jurack and Birna Matthiasdottir
The British, inhabitants of a small, overcrowded island, have a deep-seated relationship with the sea. They flock to the beaches in summer, take walks along cliffs, potter in rockpools and bathe on beaches, sit in cars, stroll along piers or relax in beach huts, staring at other people, the horizon, changing weather, seagulls and passing boats.
In 1996 artist Sarah James initiated a project to invite ten fellow artists to spend a week each at a beach chalet on the edge of the Solent at Titchfield Haven, Hampshire and produce prints as a response to their experiences there. Her own work has been inspired by a fascination with the sea and she was curious to see the approaches and the forms the work of other artists might take in response to this particular location: changing tides, flickering light, walkers, marine life and the activities of people at leisure on the shore. The resulting series of prints were produced at Sarah James’ print studio in Winchester.
The artists have a diverse range of experiences, sensibilities and employ sundry working practices and processes. In the new surroundings of the beach chalet the conditions and location resonate with them in many different ways. Small, temporary living conditions in a vast and seemingly permanent landscape, new sounds, smells and changing light — these things can elicit many responses: discomfort, relaxation, nostalgia, meditation, dreams. Some of the artists work in situ on their etching plates, lino or wood blocks. Some make drawings on the spot and develop these in the studio. Others may make notes and interpret the experience later.
As a result of this Looking out to sea shows the different ways it is possible to represent the combination of internal thoughts and external views; how printmakers utilize ways of making marks and employ shape and colour to represent the rise and fall of the tide, the experience of solitude, low clouds, distant horizons, memories and stories, navigation marks, shadows, the movement of water, reflection and reflected light.
Sarah James has worked as a print technician since 1979 and worked as a tutor at various art schools in the UK and abroad including Winchester School of Art. She established the SARAH JAMES PRINTMAKING professional Fine Art Print Studio in Winchester in 1993. Looking out to sea was put together with both private funding and public grants including those from Southern Arts Touring Exhibition Service and Hampshire County Council. John Purcell Paper provided the paper.