If one should have time to visit only one exhibition this week it should most certainly be the latest instalment at Marlborough Fine Art (London) Ltd titled “Two Decades: British Printmaking in the 1960s and 1970s” which is set to close this week. The exhibition celebrates the renaissance that British print experienced during the two decades in question, when many artists – both old and new set to explore the medium. Reasons for the roaring revival may be many: as the established creatives looked for new ways to expand their practice, emerging artists saw the medium as an opportunity and an invitation to test more experimental approach to creating art.
Easy on the eye due to their dynamic nature and energetic impression – prints enjoyed great popularity – equally so amongst art-collectors as they did with more commercial audience. The relatively inexpensive process of production of larger quantities of printworks led to increased demand. Fueled by the emerging opportunity of being in possession of artworks with a significantly lower price tag than artist’s original works, prints consequently faced commercial recognition.
In turn – artists and galleries embraced the booming market by widening their practice and thus achieving public appreciation.
However, as the exhibition points out, print wasn’t solely the new ‘pop-art’ medium as it might seem on the first glance. In contrast to the developing interest in medium on the art market, print ‘s utility in conveying message was seen as an opportunity by political activist and marginalized groups to share in on their views. Numerous alternative print-shops opened across UK, with objective of producing material to cater the needs of rising anti-establishment movements.
Due to the strong visual impact print often had it was highly suitable both as an artistic medium and a tool of expression, achieving recognition and multiple employment.
In the mid-1970s Tate Britain founded the contemporary print archive and works (by all eight artists currently on view at Marlborough Fine Art) were donated to form the basis of the collection.
The Exhibition is on view at Marlborough Fine Art Ltd until 6th January