Culture & Creative IndustriesNews

Watts Contemporary Gallery’s annual In Print exhibition opens on 5 November, this year featuring work by more artists than ever before to support contemporary practitioners in what has been an extraordinarily challenging year.

In Print: 20/20 Vision brings together over 100 original prints by twenty leading artists to celebrate the diversity of printmaking today. From linocuts of Dartmoor landscapes to screenprints inspired by 1950s’ movies, Wabi Sabi-influenced etchings to homages to the great masters of art, the exhibition provides visitors to Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village with a unique opportunity to see and buy contemporary art.

Significantly, the exhibition includes a number of new works created during the lockdown. Many of these prints reflect how, during this time, focus shifted to the people and objects immediately around us. Memories of joyful times and of finding pleasure in the small and sometimes forgotten things – along with empty spaces – are recurring themes. Prints in the exhibition are accompanied by an introduction by its artist, providing personal insight.

In addition to supporting contemporary artists, Watts Contemporary exhibitions support Watts Gallery Trust’s Art for All learning programme, which delivers transformative artist-led workshops to members of the community who might not otherwise have access to art. The charity has adapted its learning programme in order to continue to support the community throughout the pandemic, providing online activities and artists’ materials so that people are still able to take part.

Artists showing work in In Print: 20/20 vision include: Margaret Ashman, whose photo etchings begin by carefully studying the movement of dancers from video footage; Melvyn Petterson, whose landscapes centre around the drama played out in nature; Mychael Barratt, who finds inspiration in history and storytelling; Anna Marrow, whose work has a distinctive nostalgic style, recalling the 1950s; Gill Tyson, who specialises in lithography, exploring remote landscapes on the North West Coast of Scotland; Jennie Ing, whose bold and distinctive linocuts capture iconic buildings from our towns and cities; Nicola Slattery, who returns to the theme of people at one with animals and nature, and Richard Shimell, whose work shows a fascination with trees, ploughed fields and crop marks.

Also Fiona Watson, whose style ranges from minimalist to whimsical; Emily Smith Polyblank, whose work frequently features dogs; Richard Spare, who began his career as David Hockney’s assistant and whose self-designed garden is a rich source of inspiration; Rebecca Denton, who creates playful narrative etchings that are full of hope; Kate Dicker’s work includes exacting wood engravings of Italian landscapes; Juliette Scott, who finds excitement in the ever-changing seasons; Rose Electra Harris who explores domestic interiors through etching and screen-printing.

And Sarah Morgan, whose printmaking is inspired by memories and thoughts of adventures; Sam Marshall, for whom drawing is the foundation for all her work; Corinna Button, whose prints always have people as their subject; Peter Shread, who works predominantly with woodcut and linocut and Samantha Cary, whose recent work is inspired by daily and nocturnal wanderings in the suburban neighbourhood in which she lives.

Opportunities for artists and makers to sell their work have a long history at Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village. Having provided free training for local villagers in terracotta modelling, Mary Watts (1849 – 1938) – who together with her husband, the artist George Frederic Watts OM RA (1817-1904), founded the Artists’ Village at the end of the 19th century – then supported these artists and the wider community in creating the Compton Pottery, a social enterprise that brought employment and training to the village for over fifty years. Today, Watts Contemporary Gallery is located in one of the original Compton Pottery buildings.

Commenting, Alistair Burtenshaw, Director of Watts Gallery Trust, said:

“Now in its 4th year, In Print is always very popular with visitors to Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village, and we are delighted to be doubling the number of artists showing work in the 2020 exhibition.”

“This has been such a challenging year for us all. Our founders, GF and Mary Watts, believed that art could make our lives better, and we uphold this belief today. Art for All is at the heart of everything we do here at Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village, whether that’s helping contemporary artists and makers to show and sell their work, or helping the local community to take part in art.”

“When you buy an artwork from Watts Contemporary, you are supporting artists and also supporting Art for All. Our thanks to everyone whose generosity enables us to deliver Art for All, and we do hope that you will enjoy this wonderful exhibition!”

In Print: 20/20 Vision opens at Watts Contemporary Gallery on 5 November 2020 (until 10 January 2021). The exhibition is a collaboration with Gwen Hughes Fine Art. All work is for sale, with prices starting from £50. Admission is free to Watts Contemporary Gallery.

For further information:          @WattsGallery         facebook/thewattsgallery

Image: Margaret Ashman, Midori no Doresu (detail)