Making Marks by Hand
exhibition by Gwilym Hughes
3rd March - 2nd April 20116
This unusual exhibition has a title which is slightly misleading in some
ways; the 'marks' made are very precise indeed; the 'by hand' refers to
the fact that these are limited edition prints from wood- and lino- cuts.
These arise from his drawings of human characters, the main focus of
his work. Despite the fine detail, they give an impression of abstraction
- one of feeling and not of technique, yet drawn from direct observation.
The artist says that those he features are 'filtered through history,
cliche and projection ' (as experienced in) 'the head of the viewer' (and)
'not necessarily attributes of the subject', and describes them as being
'like the cast of a film' as reflected in the lives of its audience.
The images are curiously unimpassioned yet, because of their attention
to nuances of facial expression, subtlety of movement and commitment in
what each is doing, are involving for the viewer and ultimately satisfying.
This is particularly true of the works featuring musicians, which reflect
the artist's description of himself as a 'sometime musician'.
It is clear that the precision and graphic nature of the content of the
exhibition arise from his work as a designer who has spent time using
computers. But this exhibition demonstrates the other end of the spectrum,
utilising ancient printmaking techniques such a woodcuts (his preferred
method') and lino cuts (he describes these as 'hands-on, low-tech and
time consuming'. For the former, he prefers to use wood from dismantled
pieces of old furniture, or pieces of plywood from local builders yards;
not the easiest materials to work with, but he prefers a challenge! Where
possible, he uses old techniques such as copper engraving or Japanese
woodblock , finishing his work manually so the whole process remains under
his control (rather than using a press, for instance).
Two of the collections shown here, 'Lost Voices' and 'Flamenco Faces',
feature works reflecting the artist's interest in music, and sense of
preservation of that which was never recorded and may otherwise be lost.
The other, 'Chance meetings', illustrates illusory concepts; who could
have connected, what may have happened?
Gwilym Hughes, who lives in Manchester, cites as his influences 'Gustave
Dore for his ability to create an intense and dramatic world with just
lines, dots and ink' and 'Rembrandt, who could create a world in a human
face'. His favourite recent print artist is Leonard Baskin.
Hughes is an award-winning print-maker whose recent work has been exhibited
at the Bankside Gallery London, RK Burt Gallery London, Manchester Contemporary
Art Fair, Warrington Art Gallery and the Awagami International Print Exhibition
in Japan. He is currently artist-in-residence at Hot Bed Press in Salford.
Other artists whose work features in this exhibition include Fred Jones
and Sue Mclaren
Editions Ltd, 16 Cook Street, Liverpool L2 9RF Tel:
0151 236 4236.
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Open Monday - Friday 10-5.30 and Saturdays 11- 4. Closed Sundays