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INTRODUCING NEW ARTIST VICTORIA BROWNE | HAND MADE PRINTS

January 29th 2014
The works in Victoria Browne’s ‘Training Nature’ series immediately catch the eye because it’s unlikely you’ve ever seen anything like them before. My initial thought when I first saw Donut was that it did indeed look like a donut (I hadn’t seen the title at this point) formed of a swarm of bees which had huddled together to make an almost-perfect spherical shape with a hole in it. Swarm is in fact the title she’s given another piece from the series for just this reason; her titles, as you may have already guessed, are quite literal and come after a piece has been created in response to what they’re referred to as by both herself and others.

An established and experienced printmaker, Browne combines traditional printing techniques with digital innovation. The ‘Training Nature’ series, which the prints shown here are from, is inspired by the shapes that appear in topiary - which I’m sure to those who practice it is as an art in itself. Her aim with these works is to highlight human intervention in nature and our desire to ‘improve’ these living plants by pruning and shaping. The configurations she’s created have a sturdy appearance, and there’s a sense of something human about them; perhaps it’s the way they hold themselves on the page, I can’t quite place it. The fact that each piece in an edition is slightly different to the next due to the hand printing process emulates this, thus extending Browne’s allegations to reference mankind and our constant attempt to manipulate and control.

The patterns that make up these semi-abstract shapes, which despite seeming so grounded in appearance are always floating with space all around them, draw upon English 19th century textile designer William Morris’ Arts and Crafts influence on the home. Having spent some time growing up in Walthamstow in East London which was Morris’ birthplace, there’s a personal connection here for the artist. Process is very important to Browne and these works are reduction linoleum relief prints - or ‘lino’ prints as they’re often referred to - which involves the gradual removal of the lino block to overlay multiple colours. This sculptural approach to printmaking allows Browne to manipulate the viscosity of the ink while applying a slight intentional mis-registration in order to leave evidence of the hand, which acts as a nod to the folklore of craft.

A prolific and hard-working artist who has a real passion, Browne already has a number of solo shows under her belt and her prints are held in collections at Tate, the V&A Museum (who have 'Twinkle' in their prints and drawings collection), and MoMA (USA) amongst others. And having recently been awarded an Arts Council grant for 2014, we’re looking forward to what she comes up with next.

See more works from the ‘Training Nature’ series in more detail here.
ANGIE DAVEY
Creative Director
 
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