THE ART OF COLLABORATION

The Art of Collaboration will celebrate over 40 years of artistic partnerships with giants of the British and international art world, featuring work by 21 Royal Academicians. An exhibition that documents a timeless medium and The Print Studio history, collaboration being a key element in the process.

1 March - 19 May
The Heong Gallery, Downing College

Figure 1 Kip & Tim Gresham (Mr Penfold) register a colour on a print for James Hugonin. Photo: Ivana Brdanovic

Figure 1 Kip & Tim Gresham (Mr Penfold) register a colour on a print for James Hugonin. Photo: Ivana Brdanovic

Kip Gresham has come a long way since his very first self-directed experiments with organdie mesh and iron-on stencils at the tender age of 16, but the master printmaker took to his practice like duck to water.

Artists are inherently drawn to others of their nature. Influence, inspiration and pairing is almost organic and unsurprisingly some prominent names in the UK and US have sought him for artistic alliance. Since beginning his work with others around 1975, Kip has engaged in creative collaboration with countless others. Formerly cofounding a workshop in Manchester, he now directs The Print Studio, as a professional collaborative printmaking studio. Somehow, he still proves somewhat modest in the product of his work made within its walls…

the work is that of the artist, and my participation is secondary,”

The passion for the work has sustained a deep concern and appreciation of printmaking, in all its facets, styles and applications. His sensitivity to the work comes through in not only his incredible precision and pride in the process, but also the respect and recognition for those more intimate and indescribable times of joy: in the quiet velour surfaces, experimental epiphanies and physical, touchability of ‘putting ink to paper’.

Figure 2 Nigel Hall RA, a recent WIP editioned series of twelve prints, 2019

Figure 2 Nigel Hall RA, a recent WIP editioned series of twelve prints, 2019

This allure for printmaking generated unbound skill for an extraordinary number of printmaking techniques; the 40 years in the game has Gresham an accomplished master in screen printing, engraving, etching, drypoint, aquatint, mezzotint, lithography, relief printing, mono-printing to name but a few.

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Many cups of coffee help facilitate the operation within the Studio and every visiting collaborative artist blends their own rich brew – they bring in their own tastes, ideas and approach. It is then the infusion with the mind and expertise of Kip Gresham that then produces entirely new varieties. A sort of ‘Speciality Printmaking’ ensues with notes of unconfined style, colour, scale and technique. Each new relationship is unique, taking on experimentation within the printmaking frontiers where there is no tradition or ‘house-style’ to follow.

“The day to day reality is one of dirty hands, bad backs, beautiful colours, seductive papers and, above all surprises from the artists, those magicians.

That’s why one does this stuff; This Is Important.”

On March 1st 2019, The Heong Gallery, Cambridge opens The Art of Collaboration. The exhibition selects partnerships made from over four decades of print expertise, running until May 19th.

For more info: www.dow.cam.ac.uk/cultural-life/heong-gallery/upcoming-exhibitions/kip-gresham-art-collaboration

John Coe