The first major exhibition of my Printmaking works will be at The Ropewalk arts centre, Barton upon Humber, 10 September – 31 October 2016.

‘Anomalies’ will be a journey through the last three years of my experimentations in printmaking. This practice is in stark contrast to my controlled, client-focused work as a graphic designer. My highly textured, largely abstract prints are elemental expressions of mood, reactions to atmospheric conditions and responses to materials. In essence, I see the print as a three-dimensional medium, often employing deep impressions in thick, high quality papers.

'Anomalies': September show at The Ropewalk, Barton upon Humber

Early on, I began to see the potential for abstract expression that printmaking afforded me. It occurred to me that my initial reaction to prints out of the press was guided by what I expected to see. As soon as I discarded those preconceptions, I was suddenly free, and began regarding each print by a single criteria – ‘is it interesting?’ This new found freedom was enhanced by the fact that, whilst the materials on the plate are stuck down and heavily vanished, some elements move under the heavy pressure of the press. Again, my initial disappointment at this loss of ‘control’ was tempered with the realisation that this anomaly makes each print, effectively, unique.

'Anomalies': September show at The Ropewalk, Barton upon Humber: collagraph print

The choice of the collagraph printmaking technique was a considered one, in that it afforded me the opportunity to work with a wide variety of materials to make my printing plates, many of them everyday and, in themselves, quite ordinary. These include haberdashery fabrics, torn dishcloths, matchsticks, raffia and poured varnishes. They allow me to introduce the element of texture, and to produce relatively quick results. Whilst I have the greatest respect for fellow printmakers who wish to perfect the tonal qualities of an etching, my platemaking and print processes are about visceral responses to the potential of the materials on the plate. It is also an acknowledgement that the making of the plate is almost as important as the resulting print. This will be demonstrated in the exhibition, which will feature two prints alongside the plates from which they were made. In many ways, the form, texture and remnants of the ink (from the last print made) are even more striking than the prints.

Art Print Stories: Sinclair Ashman at work

As part of this responsive process, sketches are not normally used – plates are created in response to my sense of ‘what the material wants to do’. When printing, peeling the paper from the plate always quickens the pulse, as ‘anomalies’ almost always occur – those exciting and surprising interactions of plate, ink and paper.

‘Works on Paper’ is the first film on my printmaking, shot at The Ropewalk. See it here:

‘Anomalies’: works by Sinclair Ashman, will be at The Ropewalk arts centre, Barton upon Humber, 10 September – 31 October 2016.


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