David Ballantyne

My creative practise generally involves working with paint, mixed media, and collage, however, the work for this exhibition was created as part of a series of an ongoing experiments in print making. This was partly inspired by a change in my role as an art lecturer to teach print and was initially a way of practising the skills I was teaching others. This work is an attempt to explore print making as way of generating new images based on the themes which obsess me.

My work is inspired by subject matter that I have seen, photographed, and remembered from walks through the edgelands of Liverpool, including failing architectural structures, worn and vandalised surfaces, discarded objects and materials.  The work is also influenced by my affinity for the post-industrial landscapes of the North of England that I have lived in and travelled through for most of my life. The aim of my work is not to reproduce this imagery by working from photographs and sketches, but instead an attempt to remake it by tapping into the feelings it generates in me, drawing upon aspects of it’s colours, surfaces, compositions and shapes. The use of unplanned and chance combinations of visual elements to generate pictorial surprises is an important part of the methodology I have used to make this work.

I have predominantly used collagraph printing processes, selecting found materials for their texture and shape. The materials are then cut and arranged into compositions to create collagraph plates with an emphasis on establishing evocative juxtapositions of texture and shape. Over time I experiment with colour, ink quantities, wiping back, offset and overlay printing. Some pieces go through a series of layerings, whilst others may be left after one press. I sometimes mask areas during overprinting which in turn produces collage elements for further pictorial experimentation. Final pieces of work are often constructed from sections of several prints after having gone through many permutations of arrangement to discover outcomes which surprise me and have a required element of independence from me.

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