5 favourites from The Printed Line
The Printed Line is a brand new exhibition at Torre Abbey Museum, on loan from the Arts Council Collection, showcasing the work of nearly 60 artists, including some really big hitters like Matisse, Picasso, Hockney and Paolozzi. We asked Matt Newbury, Torre Abbey’s Visitor Services Manager to give us his 5 favourites from this latest exhibition.
Working at Torre Abbey Museum, I’ve had the privilege of enjoying some wonderful visiting exhibitions over the last couple of years. However, I have to share with you how outstanding our latest exhibition is and whatever your taste (believe me, I know how subjective art can be) I think you will love it too.
As the name suggests, The Printed Line features a dynamic mix of printmaking techniques to explore the ways that lines can be used in art. This includes everything from drypoint to etching and wood engraving to bold screen prints. There’s a film that explains several of these techniques, while we also have some goody bags for youngsters to play with and to help them enjoy the exhibition too. Mind you, they might have to wrestle the Etch A Sketch off me first…
My Top 5 Favourites from The Printed Line
Simon Patterson, The Great Bear (1992)
I’ve always loved this piece since I saw a print of it on a friend’s toilet wall. From a distance it looks like the famous London tube map designed by Harry C Becks in 1931. However on closer inspection, each of the stations has been replaced by well-known people, including footballers, musicians and film actors, as well as philosophers, explorers, scholars and even French kings. It’s called The Great Bear, as it also works as a map to the ‘stars’ in the galaxy. I like art to be fun and this is pretty witty, with so much to explore.
David Hockney, Two Boys Aged 23 or 24 (1966)
I do like Hockey, especially his swimming pool series. However, until we get those on loan, this is also rather wonderful. It was one of a series of etchings that the artist created to go alongside the homoerotic poems of CP Cavafry. This picture features two hard-up young lovers who celebrate winning some money by renting a room in a ‘house of vice.’ It’s strangely intimate, with the amazing bed cover created using aquatint, an etching process that gives areas of softer tone to an illustration.
Patrick Caulfield, Oh Helen, I Roam my Room (1973)
Again inspired by a poem (this time by Jules Laforgue) I’m drawn to this screenprint because of my love for the bold simplicity of pop art. The print is part of a series, all of which feature everyday object – here an empty glass on a windowsill, which references loneliness and solitude. Another in the series features a handkerchief in an empty wineglass. Which all sounds a bit depressing, for something so colourful. At least the weather looks nice outside the window!
Bridget Riley, Untitled (1964)
I’m not sure why I am drawn to this trippy oval image, perhaps because it looks like a target or a rabbit hole you could just fall down and end up in another world. Unsurprisingly it’s from the 60’s, when altered states were all the rage and mind-bending artwork was infiltrating the everyday, from album covers to episodes of The Avengers. You can stare at the simple black and white optical illusion for ages, but probably not if you are on anything stronger than Benylin…
Henri Matisse, Torse Au Visage Coupe Torso, Face Partly Showing, (1912)
When it comes to the use of lines by artists, Matisse is a master, having dabbled in everything from etching to drypoint and woodcut to lino cut. This is an example of one of his lithographs and shows his genius in using what on the surface seems quite simple draughtsmanship to create something so enigmatic and evocative. Of course, nothing is as simple as it first looks and for someone whose artistic talent doesn’t stretch much further than stick men, I’m suitably impressed.
The Printed Line is on at Torre Abbey Museum until Sunday 2 June. The exhibition is included in your usual entrance price, or why not join the 1196 Club for unlimited entry over the year for just £16. The Abbey is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am until 5pm (last entry at 4pm). For more information visit www.torre-abbey.org.uk
All the prints in this exhibition are from the Arts Council Collection, which is the largest loan collection of modern and contemporary British art and include fine examples of work by all of this country's most prominent artists.