For this and for the next three posts we’re going to look at the first collaborative programme developed by the Scottish Print Network, a partnership between Dundee Contemporary Arts, Edinburgh Printmakers, Glasgow Print Studio, Highland Print Studio and Peacock Visual Arts. It was titled “Below Another Sky” and was also the last exhibition in the Aberdeen Art Gallery before they closed for renovation.
10 artists from Scotland and 10 from Commonwealth countries were invited to undertake research residencies during 2013 and 2014. Artists from Scotland travelled to Antigua, Baffin Bay, Bangladesh, Canada, India, New Zealand and Zambia; artists from Australia, Canada, India and Pakistan were on residency in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness.
Each artist worked with one of the five print studios on the development of ambitious and innovative new work in print, taking full advantage of the excellent range of resources, equipment and expertise available through each organisation.
We are going to focus on the artists we worked with here in Aberdeen, first up is Claire Barclay who was born in Paisley, Scotland, in 1968 and lives and works in Glasgow. She graduated from Glasgow School of Art’s Environmental Art course in 1990 and from its MFA course in 1993. She has exhibited her work widely throughout the UK and internationally.
Claire Barclay’s sculptures and installations present investigations into the physical and symbolic nature of materials and the spaces they inhabit. Frequently employing traditional craft techniques and materials, alongside those associated more with industrial design and production, Barclay’s work consistently explores the language of image and object. Printmaking has become an increasingly important part of her practice. She states:
“For some time I have integrated printed imagery into installations in the form of printed fabric. More recently I started printing on to paper, but found myself drawn to incorporating the bold graphic quality of these prints into my sculptural work. I see a correlation between the way I make sculpture and the way I have developed screen-printed works which I would like to understand in greater depth through experimentation.”
Barclay spent one month at the Banff Centre, Canada, in April 2013. During this time she researched craft traditions and materials connected to Banff’s local area. She was also able to visit the ethnological and First Nation collections held at the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver. Through this, she was able to develop further her research and approach towards the connections between North American and Scottish traditions of object making.
Claire worked with our Master Printmaker Michael Waight to produce ‘Set Shift’, he describes the experience:
“Although Claire Barclay is an experienced and accomplished screenprinter, she was very open to collaboration when it came to the development of this beautiful series of 9 relief prints at Peacock Visual Arts. As is often the case with seemingly simple pieces, there was very little margin for what would be over or under printed in terms of pressure or colour; Claire was clear as to how much grain was to be shown, how deep the tone needed to be and what indentation, if any, was desired. The selection of a sympathetic paper choice was crucial: Magnani Litho did not ‘collapse’ and held the surface very well. It has a crispness that suited Claire’s work perfectly. Claire also worked with Murray Robertson at Glasgow Print Studio on the digital files for the shapes; the blocks were subsequently laser cut at Gray’s School of Art, taking the wonderfully collaborative nature of this project a step further.”
We have one full set of ‘Set Shift’ available from our online store – https://peacock-visual-arts.myshopify.com/products/set-shift-claire-barclay