The Blue Door Studio was established by master printer Collin Cole in 2001 as a private teaching facility offering professional printmaking classes. The participants at Blue Door Studio include professional artists as well as proficient 'amateurs', the common characteristic being a serious desire to learn printmaking and enhance printmaking skills. PRINTED is an exhibition of contemporary prints which examine the many possibilities in intaglio printmaking. Working with shadow, line, gesture, imagination, process and technique, the artists investigate both the experience of printmaking and the concept of printmaking. The works draw attention not only to the requirement for patience and expertise when practicing ‘traditional’ printmaking , but also to the artist's post-modernist freedom to explore issues of figuration, abstraction, neo-surrealism and even neo-romantic ‘kitsch’.
The works featured in PRINTED investigate the full range of intaglio printmaking including engraving, dry point, hard-ground, soft-ground, sugar bite, spit bite, aquatint, embossing and even mezzotint. The prints challenge the reality of the flatness of paper with spatial metaphors; they invoke a haptic ‘presence’, incorporating our senses of sight and touch. This exhibition highlights intaglio printmaking’s ability to deny flatness by emphasizing the material ‘touch’ of the surface.
It could be argued that in 'traditional' printmaking there is an over concern with technique at the expense of 'art'. However, PRINTED proves such an assumption as simply wrong. For the artists participating in PRINTED, purely mechanical means of reproduction are subordinate to artistic intervention and the manipulation of process for creative purpose. Although the print's value, in a cultural sense, is derived from a complex interplay between artistic vision, connoisseurship, craftsmanship and reproductive convention, these artists’ primary concern is with making ‘art’ – in the fullest essence that this implies in the contemporary world.