Visual art exhibitions and events with a platform for critical writing
Bradford Gallery, 22 April - 17 May, Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford, 20 April - 26 May
Reviewed by: Justine Brooks »
A collaborative project between artists from Newcastle, Manchester, Leeds and Bradford, 'Hibrida' seeks to revive the spirit of the Bradford Print Biennale in a series of four major exhibitions. Exhibited across two venues, this exhibition the second in the series celebrates the democratic nature and fluidity of printmaking in a way that questions its elitist nature, seeking to further it as a force for cultural change. Most of all, 'Hibrida' pushes the conventional boundaries of printmaking, embracing a wide variety of contemporary techniques including computer-generated prints such as Kenneth Hay's FrÜhilingsmann.
To drive the point home, 'Hibrida' includes works such as Catherine Cooke's HIV-awareness billboard poster, and Louise Parsons' ironic piece Been there done that, bought the T-shirt (unlimited edition) printed merchandise including mugs, clocks, calendars and jigsaws portraying a chained red cabinet labelled 'Museum Reserve Collection'.
The exhibition's agenda is certainly to smash preconceptions about printmaking, and indeed there is very little of what your average punter would consider 'fine art prints'. For example, Sue Spark uses layering techniques of geometric forms to create variations on a theme in aquatint, xerox and monoprint. In Notes for a periodic table III and IV, June Anderson uses monoprint, digital imaging and collage to actually create the illusion of traditional print. Terry Atkinson's drawing on printed paper Enola Gay has the postscript 'Signed', an ironic spin on the idea of a signed print. The spirit of 'Hibrida' is succinctly embodied in John McDowall's print project, Atlas, which consists of a series of 365 printed sheets that appear to be both computer printouts and lino-cut prints. The idea is to have the sheets distributed in a number of locations around the world as a 'shifting art form', thus furthering printmaking's democratic message of art for all.
Making a political statement of a different sort, Alan Birch's Beef cuts, a lasercut painted steel cow emblazoned on flank and shoulder with phrases such as 'foot and mouth' and 'MAFF', takes its pun from recent dismal events in British farming. Mick Wooton's photogravure work Trace is in two parts one in each gallery and includes a series of close up photographic prints of traces of animal life such as bird and deer tracks.
'Hibrida' thoroughly explores and expands on traditional methods of printmaking and includes successful forays into video installation work such as Mick Wooton's extremely witty sequence Pulling faces, that depicts the pixilated faces of politicians and Vince Britta's Sentence, a landscape of Leeds as seen from a moving train.
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