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Beyond the Beyond, Tim Phillips, 2012


TO START A CONVERSATION ACROSS A CROWDED ROOM: CONTEMPORARY BRITISH PRINTMAKING 20 September – 1 November 2014


Component Cube 1, 2013 & Component Cube 2, 2014, Sophie Smallhorn

Fotoecken, 2012, Sarah Brigland


TO START A CONVERSATION ACROSS A CROWDED ROOM: CONTEMPORARY BRITISH PRINTMAKING

Katy Binks / Adam Bridgland / Sarah Bridgland / Fiona Hepburn / Tim Phillips / Sophie Smallhorn / Katsu Yuasa

To Start a Conversation Across a Crowded Room brings together seven artist printmakers whose work highlights the potency of print and printmaking techniques within contemporary art today. Whilst previous generations established printmaking as a primary means of expression akin to painting or sculpture, these artists challenge the perception of distinct mediums with fixed processes through experimental and interdisciplinary approaches. Through diverse use of material and processes which include screen-printing, paper and wood cut, through to large-scale installation, the works display a shared interest in sculptural, physical and three dimensional elements and possibilities within contemporary printmaking. Together, the works reflect upon the unique breadth of printmaking, examining both how it informs and is informed by other practices and disciplines. Katsu Yuasa draws on the heritage of printmaking in his highly detailed wood-cuts. Inverting the historical narrative of printmaking, Katsu’s process begins with a digital image- a photograph- which he then produces through a labour-intensive

process of recreating by hand. Reminiscent of Dutch Master paintings and symbolism within the momento mori tradition, the works have a nostalgic presence.

Repetition and precision are also defining characteristics of Fiona Hepburn’s practice. Her hand-crafted paper constructions employ several layers of screen-printing to achieve their delicate combinations of colour and form inspired by the natural world. Inquiries into colour, volume and proportion lie at the centre of Sophie Smallhorn’s sculptural works, mono and screen prints. Highly resolved in their formal compositions and finish, Sophie’s varied practice is suggestive of printmaking both as an initial test for an idea as well as the means for full realisation. Overlays of colour are also evident in Sarah Bridgland’s works comprising of bolsa wood and paint. These works mark a departure from her intricate pop-up paper sculptures created from found books and other discarded items Katy Bink’s bold, site-specific commission comprising digitally printed material and


vinyl transforms the back of the gallery space. This work continues her interest in geometric lines and graphic forms and their ability to transform space, affecting our perceptions and experiences of it. Similarly to Katy, Tim Phillip’s sculpture also foregrounds how digital printing can provide new tools for experimentation within a broader contemporary art practice.

Adam Bridgland’s mixed media installation Yo-Yo uses screen printing to reinvest life and a playfulness into an abandoned cooper wire spool. Sited in part outside of the gallery, it serves to remind us of the ubiquity of print within our everyday experiences: a fact often overlooked or under-appreciated.

A unique series of risograph editions featuring the work of the exhibiting artists accompanies the exhibition. Smiths Row Series II, our second online exhibition catalogue, will extend conversations around the exhibition and is available online.

To Start A Conversation Across a Crowded Room is co-curated by artist printmaker Adam Bridgland. With thanks to TAG Fine Arts and Patrick Heide Contemporary Art.

EVENTS EXHIBITION TOUR & BRUNCH Saturday 4 October, 10.30 – 11.30 am / Free Join co-curators Natalie Pace and Adam Bridgland for an informal tour of the exhibition followed by coffee and croissants. SMITHS ROW SALON: IN-CONVERSATION Wednesday 8 October, 6 – 8 pm | £4 / £3 concessions / Free for Smiths Row Supporters Gill Saunders (Senior Curator, Prints, V&A London) and artist printmaker Adam Bridgland will be in conversation about the ideas explored in the exhibition. CUT AND CONSTRUCT! FAMILY-FRIENDLY WORKSHOP LED BY ARTIST SARAH BRIDGLAND Saturday 18 October; 10 - 11 am & 2 – 3 pm / £3 per person. Come and create your own sculptural paper collage and have a go at printing with stamps. Cut and Construct! will explore geometric shape and form. Suitable for families with children aged 5-9 years.


Untitled, Katy Binks, commissioned by Smiths Row, 2014


Yo-Yo (detail), Adam Bridgland, 2014


IN CONVERSATION On contemporary printmaking

Fiona Hepburn: Printmaking has become much more accessible in the past few years. It is now a central part of many artists’s practice. Printmaking and its traditions still remain at the heart of my own work, and I am excited about how artists are using ‘print’ in new ways, testing the boundaries of the traditional techniques, and exploring the possibilities of new technologies. I come from a traditional Printmaking background, and the process of carving and etching a surface is in itself is a very sculptural one, and the idea of transferring that feeling of tactility to making the work comes quite naturally. I like the fact that I can make my prints sculptural, reflecting the physical properties of making a block, and giving a sense of dimension to a print, something which is sometimes lost on a flat piece of paper. Printmaking is a very important part of my practice. My work tends to end up as a one off piece of work, although the process of producing a multiple still remains, as I print the small shapes to cut and construct with.

traditional and the new technology of digital media. Within the exhibition I wanted to present this marriage, displaying how both old and new meet. All art work should weigh heavy on how the viewer engages and feels about the work. Art like so many other forms of escape is so objective so why close opinions on huge parts of it. As there are so many elements to printmaking it is easier to welcome other creative forms such as design and fashion for example. With this print then moves forward, taking with it new forms and ideas that present the viewer with something exciting, hybrids for the next generation of practitioners. Print also allows the blurring of the artistic mediums. I am not a believer that a work is labelled as fine art if it presented in a certain way or particular space. A great album cover or book sleeve has as much relevance as a piece of art placed within a white cube. Throughout my development as an artist I have been equally delighted to create work to display in a gallery as well as create art works for records, books, magazine and printed fabrics as they all have a weight that can be presented to the viewer,

Adam Bridgland: Printmaking is the most relevant of all the major artistic mediums. Whether we are aware or not, print surrounds us in our everyday, particularly in the advertising and publications that dominate our landscape and shape our lifestyles. Print has always been used to necessitate the multiple reproduction of information. This leads to power and knowledge, to develop or change in opinion. For me, this is what makes it so exciting and I enjoy how artists and designers respond to this. There is such a breadth to contemporary print as it encompasses both the

Sophie Smallhorn: What I love about screen printing is the ability to play with colour in a very playful and immediate way. I enjoy the chance to work through ideas quickly and fearlessly and to make mistakes that can be disregarded and learnt from. The process of making my three dimensional pieces is fairly long, from conception to fabrication and then to colour but the immediacy of printmaking is a perfect relief from this.


Installation Image, Smiths Row, 2014

The Pier, Sarah Bridgland, 2012


Installation Image, Smiths Row, 2014


SMITHS ROW SOUNDTRACK Artist Billy Cobham Giorgio Moroder Teenage Fanclub Wilco Yellow Ostrich LCD Soundsystem The War on Drugs Vaughan Williams Super Furry Animals Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds My Panda Shall Fly & Adventure Elephant The Busy Twist

Song Name Heather Leopard Tree Dream Can't Feel My Soul Company In My Back Here Today All My Friends Red Eyes The Lark Ascending Northern Lites The Ship Song Opening Brace

Chosen by Tim Phillips Tim Phillips Adam Bridgland Adam Bridgland Adam Bridgland Adam Bridgland Sarah Bridgland Sarah Bridgland Sarah Bridgland Natalie Pace Katy Binks

Labadi Warrior

Katy Binks

Tim Phillips on the relationship between music and his process I have always loved hip hop music, and I was always beguiled by the thought of ingenious musicians/rappers in the ghettos of America making incredible records in the 80's seemingly out of thin air. It was only later in life, when I started making music myself, that I came to see that the music I loved was made by sampling splicing and rearranging old records from the 60's and 70's, and extracting parts of drums and other instruments into new rhythms and arrangements. This to me has interesting parallels with printmaking and my own artistic practise. Reconfiguring the detritus from advertising, hair commercials, museum arrangements, car show rooms, and shop displays- my work has a similar sense of sampling and splicing. Artists have always reconfigured elements of their environments into new readings of the familiar and everyday. Similarly, It is interesting how out of a lack of money to buy instruments, the early pioneers of hip hop made incredible new sounds by the limitations and familiar sounds of

their environment, and used sampling machines to arrange small clips of their parents old blues/jazz/funk records into new, experimental songs, often unrecognisable from the original records drum stabs or bass lines. In this same way, print has always dealt with the idea of mechanical intermediaries, processing a mark on a plate or screen into often new and unfamiliar ways. The idea of the multiple and the machine often creates something very interesting from the most simple of marks and form the basis of my use of the computer to form artificial renderings of crystals and stones from simple parameters of light and refraction to create something widely exaggerated from the natural world. Like the drum breaks used in hip hop, spliced from drum sections of old funk records, there is the trace of something man made , but processed through the machine, something is added, an exaggerated 'crunch' to the sound which is at once human and mechanised.


Tim Phillips Soundtrack Choices

'Heather' by Billy Cobham

'Leopard Tree Dream' by Giorgio Moroder

An amazing slow building synth, accompanies a beautifully melodic jazz standard. This was used to great effect in the hip hop record '93 till infinity' by Souls of Mischief. They sped up the intro and created an amazing rhythmic arrangement from something that originally sounded like a swelling sea. It is amazing how the glockenspiel sounds sped up on the reconfigured record.

This old record from the soundtrack to terrible 80's teen flick 'The Cat People' was used by hip hop producer El-P in the highly experimental band 'Cannibal Ox.' Moroder is famous to have said that most dance music copied his recipe for electronic bass lines from the 70's onwards, and it is interesting how his influence stretched far beyond the discos. This is something dug from the OST archives, and looped to produce such an amazing, experimental, and futuristic sounding track for this highly original group of musicians from New York

Installation Image, Smiths Row, 2014


Smiths Row is committed to providing artists and makers with the opportunity to produce new work and offering visitors the ability to enjoy and support contemporary art and craft To accompany To Start A Conversation Across A Crowded Room: Contemporary British Printmaking, we invited each artist to produce a new risograph print. Left to Right:       

Untitled, Katy Binks Vorticella, Fiona Hepburn Yo-Yo, Adam Bridgland Crowd, Sophie Smallhorn The Park, Sarah Bridgland Resonance, Katsu Yuasa, Parabens, Tim Phillips

All editions: £50 unframed each, £95 framed Full set of seven: £300 Risograph on Mohawk 270 gsm paper 42 x 29.7 cm Edition of 30 Please contact the gallery for information.


SMITHS ROW SERIES are publications available online which aim to extend conversations around our exhibition programme.

Smiths Row would like to thank the following for their help and contributions to the making of ‘To Start a Conversation Across a Crowded Room: Contemporary British Printmaking’: Adam Bridgland Katy Binks Sarah Bridgland Fiona Hepburn Tim Phillips Sophie Smallhorn Katsu Yuasa Patrick Heide Contemporary Art TAG Fine Arts Niki Braithwaite All of the staff and interns at Smiths Row

Smiths Row The Market Cross Cornhill Bury St Edmunds Suffolk IP33 1BT +44 (0)1284 762081 www.smithsrow.org enquiries@smithsrow.org

Smiths Row Series: To Start A Conversation Across A Crowded Room: Contemporary British Printmaking  

Smiths Row Series are publications available online which aim to extend conversations around Smiths Row's exhibition programme

Smiths Row Series: To Start A Conversation Across A Crowded Room: Contemporary British Printmaking  

Smiths Row Series are publications available online which aim to extend conversations around Smiths Row's exhibition programme

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