The Printmakers Council was formed in 1965 a group of artists including Julian Trevelyan, Michael Rothenstein, Anthony Gross, Stanley Jones and Agatha Sorel who saw the need for a society that would promote new developments within printmaking. Since then it has consistently promoted the place of printmaking in the visual arts. More about the history of the Printmakers Council here
In 2017 the Council invited artist printmakers to submit works for the Print City and Mini Print exhibitions which opened on November at the Morley Gallery in Lambeth London. The exhibits showed the breadth of UK printmaking including silkscreen, etching, linocut, lithography, solar and plastic engraving. I submitted a mini print (19×19) of an inkjet print on pastel paper – Welsh Bowl with Mermaids Purse, Sheep’s Wool and Rabbits Tail. The Mini Prints are a portfolio that will be held by the V&A Print Collection. I met Michael Pritchard from Staffordshire who had his digital prints in the city exhibition that sat alongside plastic engravings by Louise Hayward and Guy Butters Underground Surveillance that hung in on of the windows which are included in the slide how of iPhone pictures from the opening night.
The gallery is nearby The Imperial War Museum which was particularly dramatic that night with a bright moon low in the sky.
There are many clever, precise skills and crafts required to hang a 30 frame exhibition. Especially as I wanted a very aligned approach. Getting the balance right between the 3 different sizes of frames to provide an equality of status for each portrait, while a unity across the 4 walls was a priority that Dr Rob achieved to perfection with his attention to detail at every stage. Rob also suggested not using the traditional ‘mirror clips’ to hang the show, but to use security picture fixings. These have the benefit of being hidden from the view as the frames ‘magically’ hang on the wall. In addition the spring locks are secure and prevent the frames being removed with out the ‘special lever. Lawrence at the Framers was able to supply.
Click on the gallery below to see pictures of the process.
Dr Rob Top tip : If the walls are not necessarily flat – you end up with rocking pictures. This can be remedied with a slice of cork behind the frame, but it can become uneven to look at on the oblique view which matters if the galleries are big.
The High Sheriff Printed Portraits were framed by Lawrence at The Framers in the Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham. ‘The Hangman’ Dr Rob Grose and I collected the frames to transport to the hallowed and impressive galleries in the city’s municipal Gallery in the city Centre. Lawrence assisted with the 3 Large A0 frames. It was a cold and damp start, but we were let through the historic, heavy metal gates and up in the slow, but sure lift to the 2nd floor gallery level.
Gallery 16 was pristine after the recent redecoration, but a tad daunting in its emptiness. While we got underway the galleries seen through our closed glass doors were bustling with visitors and groups of eager school children travelling in from their city schools to see the collections and be inspired to write and draw. The Front of House staff and volunteers are very experienced, knowledgable and open to engage with all visitors. In fact our first visitor pre public viewings were invigilators eager to see the new exhibition and to understand more in order to respond to visitor’s questions.
Gallery 16 has brass plates on each door designating it the PRINT ROOM.
Originally this was a dedicated and curated print room, but it is now utilised for a range of exhibitions. It seems vey appropriate to be exhibiting the High Sheriff Printed Portraits here.
Click ‘Installation’ gallery to see how we embarked on the hang.
Hanging the exhibition was a revelation. Individual prints began to ‘connect’ with each other and we began to see ‘themes’ that had not been apparent until this moment. Some subjects looked one way, while others looked elsewhere. Hands began to follow each other, and subject’s emotions became clearer and clearer and the exhibition began to reveal itself. Each portrait and its subject is important in itself, but gathered together they become a body of work that reflects on the breadth of people I met in the West Midlands in 2015/16.