Printmaking is a big part of the life of the RBSA. That’s why we hold a biennial Print Prize, which is currently open to artists across the UK.
We love seeing new developments emerging in the world of contemporary printmaking!
But did you know the RBSA also holds some important works in its Permanent Collection? As an organisation with Accredited Museum Status, we have an extensive archive of notable printmakers from the past 200 years.
Our current membership includes renowned artists working in wood engravings, lino-cuts and screen-printing. Contemporary printmaker and mixed media artist David White said: ‘There are a number of RBSA artists living and working today who have a focus on printmaking. Their work is innovative and on a wide variety of themes.
‘Equally, our Permanent Collection holds some important works by artists like Samuel Baker and Richard Chattock, through to some of the major printmakers of the 20th century.’
Samuel Baker, Part of Wenlock Abbey (print)
‘Samuel Baker was a nineteenth century artists who lived in Birmingham and was both a painter and etcher. We can see in this work a picturesque style and romantic feel – there is a softness about it.’
Richard Chattock also produced etchings, most notably of the Black Country….
Richard Chattock, ‘Blast Furnaces, Cradley’
‘This is the first of a set of 16 works held in the RBSA’s Permanent Collection, made over several visits to the Black Country. There’s a totally different feel to his other landscape works. It’s very dark and dramatic.
‘Chattock had probaby seen Turner’s paintings of Coalbrookedale and may also have been aware of the apocalyptic paintings of John Martin.’
James Bailey, ‘Avebury Church’, 1975, etching, © The Artist’s Estate
‘Avebury Church’ by James Bailey demonstrates a very different approach to etching. Created in 1975, the work features a church and grounds, with lightly suggested figures and a large tree in the foreground.
‘The crowded composition, church, and dark tones suggest that the viewer is looking in at a funeral. In addition to the sombre atmosphere of the print, I like the further ambiguity created by the use of sketchy patches of tone rather than sharp and clear outlines.’
– Celia Monteleone
Hilary Paynter ‘Republican Candidate’ (2016)
Socio-political themes have recently been on show in our major Hilary Paynter retrospective… Hilary is an Honorary Member of the RBSA and one of the UK’s most highly regarded wood engravers.
‘I always have more ideas than I can use and these range widely to include socio-political comment and landscape. I normally work directly onto end-grain wood with rudimentary drawings from ideas that I have been refining mentally and this allows development of the engraving on the block.’
Jenkins Heinke – Arrival – Linocut – 2012
Heinke Jenkins RBSA is a printmaker and illustrator. She studied in Germany, moving to England in 1961. Heinke creates expressionist linocuts, often featuring the human figure, inspired by her early life in wartime and post-war Germany. Her work relates very closely to their long tradition of woodcut.
Heinke is also a member of the Liverpool Academy and the Society of Wood Engravers. During the 1960s and 70s she exhibited in numerous printmaking shows and also showed at the Royal Academy.
Paul Bartlett RBSA, No Entry (or Still Knocking at the Door), 2007, solar plate etching.
Other works of note held by the RBSA include the incredible science fiction imaginings of Paul Bartlett, who was a fan of solar plate etching. He said of No Entry (or Still Knocking at the Door):
“The brief was to create ‘a plausibly impossible architectural structure.’ When reworking it as an etching, I included myself in the eternally recurring implausible truths – no matter what stage in a career or life we are at, there are still closed doors to contend with.”
– Paul Bartlett
Our collection spans two centuries, demonstrating the RBSA’s contribution to printmaking. As a Society we work to both support and celebrate contemporary artistic practice, and to build an archive important to the artistic life of Birmingham, and the UK art scene.
Call for Entries
If you are a contemporary printmaker making original prints – etchings, linocuts, screen-prints, engravings – then why not enter our next major exhibition?
The current Call for Entries for our Print Prize Exhibition runs until 4pm on Wednesday May 23.
Why not help us celebrate contemporary printmaking across the UK and be in the running for a top prize of £1,000?
Open to all artists: go to the RBSA website where you’ll find more information and the application pack.
David and his wife Carol curated the RBSA exhibition ‘Baker to Bartlett: The Changing Face of RBSA Printmaking’.
Banner image: detail from work by Heinke Jenkins RBSA