Culture & Creative IndustriesNews

This summer, Watts Contemporary Gallery will present Greenwich Printmakers at 40, an exhibition celebrating the esteemed London art group’s 40th anniversary. The show will feature prints by all 35 members, many of which have been newly created in response to the architecture, history and natural surroundings of Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village.


The exhibition will show the Greenwich Printmakers’ incredible range of styles and techniques, from collagraphy to lithography, wood engraving to solar plate gravure, aquatint to photoetching. Greenwich Printmakers at 40 will be the only show – in a series of exhibitions celebrating the group’s 40th year – to include work made specially in response to its gallery setting.


Based in their vibrant Greenwich Market gallery, Greenwich Printmakers Association is one of the longest running co-operatives in the UK. Formed in January 1979 by a small group of artist-printmakers, the Association’s membership now extends throughout London. The group regularly shows at prestigious exhibitions throughout the UK, including the annual Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, RE Masters and the National Original Print Exhibition at Bankside Gallery, plus shows at the National Theatre and the Barbican.


This one-off collaboration with Watts Contemporary Gallery includes work by artists who have taken inspiration from the Artists’ Village, its story, its buildings and its people. Among them, Kit Boyd draws on the history of G F Watts’s activism for the protection of birds to create ethereal scenes of the Victorian master painter, at home among the wildlife of Compton; Ann Burnham highlights the architectural and agricultural history of the Artists’ Village in sweeping scenes that tell Compton’s remarkable story, and Peter Luty prints patterns reminiscent of Mary Watts’s Arts & Crafts designs onto shimmering watercolour backgrounds.


The exhibition also presents work by Tammy Mackay, whose highly-detailed, quirky animal prints use an intricate combination of photopolymer plates and hand-drawn or hand-coloured chine-collé. Architectural structures, geometry, pattern, and the effects of colour and light on landscape are explored in New Zealand printmaker Jennifer Jokhoo’s work. Jokhoo’s carefully hand-cut reduction linocuts convey the rich colour and quiet beauty of the British countryside.


Greenwich Printmakers at 40 will be opened on 4 July by Anita Klein, a former member of Greenwich Printmakers Association who has since served as the president of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers.


On Saturdays throughout July and August, visitors can meet some of the exhibiting artists at Watts Contemporary Gallery. There will be live demonstrations with opportunities to learn more about different printmaking techniques at drop-in master classes led by the Greenwich Printmakers. The summer programme of courses and workshops is designed to respond to Greenwich Printmakers at 40: participants can learn how to linocut using two or three colour reduction with Greenwich Printmaker, Jennie Ing, and discover colour mixing in delicate chine-collé with Greenwich Printmaker, Sally McKay.


Greenwich Printmaker, Kit Boyd, says:


“Greenwich Printmakers are thrilled to be celebrating our 40th anniversary with this special show at Watts Contemporary Gallery. It has been a joy for our members to create new and exciting prints in response to the Wattses’ inspirational legacy, and the “Art for All” ethos of the Artists’ Village.”


Alistair Burtenshaw, Director of Watts Gallery Trust, says:


“Greenwich Printmakers at 40 is an amazing opportunity for Watts Contemporary Gallery to show works newly made in response to our Collection, our history and our local landscape. I am delighted that we can be a part of the co-operative’s 40th year celebrations, and look forward to seeing the diverse range of techniques, styles and subjects the Printmakers are so well known for.”


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