Imagination rules the roost in the Neo Print Prize 2016

Print is synonymous with paper. So would you be surprised to see print in a digital, sculptural, even film format. This is exactly what the Neo Print Prize has delivered in their biennial exhibition. It seems much like a retrospective show in that it delivers a powerful, all-encompassing outlook on print as a medium, yet its as fresh as ever, forget that as a technique printmaking has been around since the 5th century.

Neo Artists has specially selected 113 prints from 91 artists spanning the world as its social media reach spreads to Russia, Greece, Canada, France, Japan, Iran and Bangladesh to name but a few. One of their esteemed judges was also flown in from New York especially for the Prize. The exhibition space within a busy Bolton shopping centre astounds in its sheer size, allowing for scale and variety
in the works displayed. Moreover it obviously heightens the impact of these high quality works to a new dynamic level.

For one there’s more than enough room for the 100 prints. Instead of a cluttered, overbearing atmosphere, the art really packs a punch through the ingenious curation. Walking by installations hanging from the ceiling and spanning the floor, there’s a sense of empowered collaboration. As though all the artists have been working towards this exhibition together such is the artistic energy. I’m immediately struck by Chloe Farrar’s ‘Slip’ a sculptural installation combining digital print and painted steel tubing. Its fascinatingly beautiful in its own right. Part-industrial, yet integrating print cleverly through the careful use of material. Whereas the simple hanging forms by Ann-Kristin Kallstrom resonate a quiet, inner beauty that is more traditionally acceptable as a sculptural print medium. Petra Kallio’s ‘Memory 1’ also exudes a calm air of inwardness with the delicate skills of drypoint with embroidered human hair. Would you have ever thought that print could be presented in, on and with materials such as these.

Mixed media prints such as Badr Ali’s ‘Ecotone’ excel in texture and composition, opposite in nature to Sue Baker Kenton’s ‘Bleed’ etching which seemingly appears as though the skin would feel warm to the touch even through its cold surface. The group of 24 inkjet prints ‘A Clearing of Measures’ by Lisa Bulawsky are made from newsprint backing sheets and grouped linocuts ‘Pregnance’ by Canadian artist Helene Latulippe on cardboard couldn’t be more different to the detailed etchings by Ian Chamberlain, Sarah Duncan, Scott Ludwig and Amelia Tinton. Once again showing off the diverse use of technique and material.

Veronique Chance (front)

Such is the extent of works that it flows imperiously into film and video. ‘Imprint’ by local Bolton artist Sandra Bouguerch is a compelling piece of social interaction. Print then turns into landscape. Susannah Stark’s ‘North-East Wis-Dom’ is an assortment of floor based work in which sculptural shapes have been coerced into plastic life by its print onto primed canvas stitched to form free-standing objects. Screenprints to woodblock printing are everywhere you turn, Print Prize winner Rowan Siddons ‘Architectural Constructions’ combine a sense of geometry with natural flair and he will continue the progress of his MA work in residency with Neo Artists next year.

Winner - Rowan Siddons

Imagination rules in the Print Prize. There is seemingly no end to the devises of print artists and rightly so. Contemporary art is strengthened by its presence and one that I have no doubt will continue into the next few years.

Badr Ali
Amelia Tinton (left), Anthony Ratcliffe (centre) and Marine Lefebvre (right)
Mary Hood
Sandra Bouguerch

J (Jay) Price (left), Pretty Sood (centre) and Nicole Polonsky (right)
Lisa Bulawsky
Ann-Kristin Kallstrom (front) and Chloe Farrar (centre)

Kate Brett

Roxy Topia & Paddy Gould (front)

Susannah Stark
Vic Dawson (left), Lisa Chang Lee (bottom centre) and Algimantas Kaveckis (far right)

Christine Too (left), Lynne Blackburn (centre) and Oran O'Reilly (right) 

Koralia Maciej

On until this Sunday!

Neo:Gallery 27
The Market Place (upstairs)

Please take note that your art may flourish from reading this blog :)


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