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Print Expression at Blue Door Print Exhibition Article Image

Print Expression at Blue Door Print Exhibition

Posted on 2 June 2016

"In this technological time, it's nice to be involved in something that's all about using your hands." - Kathan Brown

Blue Door Studio in association with Art it is Johannesburg presents their annual print student exhibition. The exhibition features works by Amanda Ballen, Chonat Getz, Derek Zietsman, Dina Kroon, Liz Reed, Sandi Kuper, Sue Fox and others with David Tsoka, Alex Vosloo, Kobus Rossouw, Anna B and John Moore.

The exhibition featuring prints by over 20 student printmakers made at Blue Door Studio press over the past year. During this time those in training work very closely with the master printmaker Collin Cole to learn all of the technical demands of printmaking as well as develop their own creative styles.

Cole, born in Johannesburg on 25 May 1960, graduated from the Natal Technikon with a National Diploma in Fine Art and later obtained a Masters (cum laude) in Fine Art from Rhodes University. Collin began his solo career in 2000 and in addition to holding four solo exhibitions, has participated in 140 local and international group exhibitions and competitions to date. After obtaining his Masters degree in Printmaking, Collin was a university lecturer for 14 years and taught in most of the printmaking techniques including screen printing, intaglio, all associated planographic medium, relief printing, mono printing, and collograph.

In 2003, Cole established the Blue Door Print Studio, to teach professional artists and 'amateurs' with a willingness to learn the wonderful art of printmaking. To date the studio has offered services to 46 artists. His teaching philosphy is based around two main factors: To teach printmaking processes; and more importantly, to assist individual artists and students to express what is that what they wish to communicate visually.

Marianna Keyser, Google Faces, 2015, Monoprint (780mm x 1070 mm)

"If one takes a gentle look at the works on display on this exhibition, what you will notice, 20 individual artists and their own forms of expression. This is quite unique for works coming out of one single studio," says Cole.

The intention of the studio is to teach the methodology of printmaking and once this has been achieved, the students are required to experiment with their medium thereby creating a distinctive style for themselves. Everything about the work of students is their own - all ideas, decisions, marks, colors, etc. are to originate solely from the artist. Cole simply helps bring a vision into fruition with his vast technical skills and knowledge. Which can be seen in the works in this show. Each artist has his/her own distinct style and subject matter.

"In a small studio, this is a challenge as there is always a tendency for either cloning or cross-pollination. To avoid this, I have a simple rule regarding individual expression. Keep everyone apart and don't let on. Creative individuality is important to me as the studio coordinator," continues Cole.

The exhibition features a wide variety of contemporary prints using a full range of print techniques including etching, aquatint, intaglio, chine cole, etc. The works explore various themes of figuration, identity, abstraction, history and memory.

Sandi Kuper, On and on and on, Etchings and aquatint (1320 x 230mm)

Cloned: Flashcards for memory recollection is a print installation consisting of 18 prints created by the CK collaboration featuring Cole and fellow artist Dina Kroon. In 2011, Cole and Kroon embarked on a series of collaborations for private as well as corporate collections. In 2016, both artists decided to form a full collaboration working under the signatures of Cole and Kroon (CK). Each print is a reflective narrative based on memory recollection from both artists. The intention of putting these works together was based not on specific memory but rather on the triggers that awaken memory.

Sandi Kuper's new body of etchings, entitled Surveillance portrays a number of 'imagined' landscapes, using composites of a few existing areas within South Africa. The viewer is drawn in to decode the work via the use of repetition within the mountainous landscape and sometimes a grid-like structure which portrays persistence and perseverance. The work has a gentleness in its subtlety of colour but contains a suggestion of underlying tension and an unsettling angst.

The works on exhibition attest to a dedication to craftsmanship, showcasing specific skills duly earned by putting in long hours and lots of labor, and maintaining focus and creativity. "Making a print is an exciting and wonderful journey, in creating an image, it relies on multiple creative skills to extract the image from its matrix. Almost like Alchemy." says Cole.

Cole works closely with each artist, assisting them to translate their creative ideas into limited edition prints. This is an invaluable collaboration of prints that reach a much wider audience because printmaking allows for multiples to be produced, resulting in editions. The exhibition boasts superb works available at affordable prices for young collectors and for sole collectors of prints.

The exhibition runs from 25 May - 24 June 2016.

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