Printmaking is booming in Sheffield and a new exhibition opening this weekend in the Millennium Gallery provides a snapshot of the current scene.
Printing Sheffield aims to reflects the diversity and abundance of contemporary printing in Sheffield and includes works by more than 30 artist who are connected to the city.
It is built around an active group of artists employing diverse printing techniques with vibrant results ranging from James Green’s colourful linocuts, to Kid Acne’s witty silkscreen prints.
Part of the appeal of printmaking, suggests curator Alison Morton, is its affordability and accessibility which have given artists their own independent means of production. “There’s a lot of activity in the city with workshops and groups springing up and because of this a lot of new print-makers have developed.
“At the same time well established artists have been branching out and others who have come from different careers have been able to develop because of the workshop facilities. Within the print-making community there are groups who are quite supportive of each other and are well organised and building momentum and acquiring loyal customers.
“We thought we could replicate it in the gallery and so offer affordable art to our visitors so that by buying works for sale they too can participate in the print revolution. Normally work they see exhibited here is out of the range of most of them.”
On view are examples of screenprint, etching, aquatint, linocut and Risograph, high-speed digital printing system.
Landscape and nature are inspirations for many such as Zoe Badger, Jenny Bowden, Sarah Burgess, Nick Deakin Jane Elliot, James Green, Samantha Groom, Cath Hartnett, Richard Johnson, Paul Morrison, Duncan Pass, Kate Thornton and Piers Williams.
The urban and built environment inform the work of Sally Brooks, Simon Clements, Carol Lambert, Jo Peel, Caroline Quincey, Theo Simpson, Jonathan Wilkinson, Neil Woodall and Peter York. A more abstract approach is taken by Pat Hodson, Tom J Newell, Isabel Walker, and Rupert Wood,
Kid Acne is best known for his street art, while others have a graphic design or commerecial art background - dust and Imogen Wood,
Others have their own individual theme such as Florence Blanchard (pop culture), Mick Marston (cycling), Joe McDonnell (politics), Phlegm (fantasy),
“We want to reflect not only the variety of styles and techniques of the print-makers but a range of prices,” continues Alison Morton.
“Visitors will be able to enjoy what they are looking at and also learn a bit more about the technology behind it. There are three short films in which artists Neil Woodall, Ed Bradbury and Florence Blanchard and James Green explain their techniques.”
There are talks, workshops and events running alongside Printing Sheffield which opens in the Craft and Design Gallery at the Millennium Gallery on Saturday and continues until June 15.