Attendees of symposium at 2014 IPB seated in front of Bob and Roberta Smith's Feminist Icons series.

International Print Biennale returns to celebrate the world's best printmakers

19 August 2016

The only major UK event that celebrates contemporary printmaking, the International Print Biennale returns to the North East of England with its most extensive programme of exhibitions, events and participatory activities to date, including an international symposium and the prestigious 2016 Print Awards.

The 4th International Print Biennale is a key date in the global arts calendar, attracting over 130,000 visitors to dozens of events taking place at 25 venues across the region. The event brings together acclaimed artists of international significance, alongside emerging young talent, as more than 50 artists from across the world will showcase new and existing work.

Leading UK contemporary artist, Cornelia Parker RA OBE will make her Biennale debut and the programme also will include work from woodcut specialist Marina Bindella (Italy) and painter Adam Saks (Denmark). Landscape specialist Louise Cattrell (UK) will show a new series of paintings, monoprints and etchings at the Granary Gallery, Berwick upon Tweed. At South Shields Museum & Art Gallery a selection of prints inspired by trips to Japan from pioneer printmaker Birgit Skiöld (Sweden) will be displayed.
 
Highlights of the Biennale include:


• The first public showing of the world’s longest lino cut: at 33.5m long it was created in 2015 to mark the Rugby World Cup and will be shown at Newcastle City Library.

 • David Nash RA will show for the first time in the North East his stencil prints, for which he uses Unison pastels, preferred by artists and handmade in Northumberland. Internationally acclaimed as a sculptor, Nash’s display at Cheeseburn reveals the artist’s unique way of making stencil prints, reminiscent of his drawings, showing the enduring appeal of print to artists working at all levels, in all media.

• Previous double Print Awards prize winner Ellen Heck will celebrate ‘Alice in Wonderland’ at Newcastle City Library with an exhibition of new prints.

• Rachel Ramirez, a member of the international Nature Printing Society, will use ‘Gyotaku’ – a Japanese process of printing from fish, as well as other print processes, in a programme of workshops, demonstrations and participatory acrtivities to mark the annual migration of salmon leaping along the Tyne from Hexham to Kielder in Northumberland.

• Printmaking in the region dates back to the 17th Century when Newcastle was second only to London in the quantity of books and private print presses owned at the time. The contribution of the North East to printmaking will feature in collections on display at the Discovery Museum, Newcastle, and leading commissioning agency Locus+, working with some of today’s most exciting contemporary artists, will launch a new publication with Scottish artist Katie Paterson to coincide with the opening of the Biennale.

• Purpose built in 1884 as a natural history museum, the Great North Museum: Hancock will provide an evocative setting for the work of three artists. Norwegian artists Annette and Caroline Kierulf who also have designed an unofficial poster for the International Print Biennale, will exhibit a series of woodcuts that comment on ecological issues, and London-based Rebecca Jewell will show artefacts and prints using feathers, inspired by natural history and other museum collections, alongside the World Cultures Collection at Great North Museum: Hancock.

• Often cited ‘the North’s greatest artist’, Thomas Bewick’s tail-piece engravings will form the backdrop to readings of new poems from Joanne Clement, inspired by their legacy. This is a rare opportunity to experience a special selection of Bewick’s wood engravings from The Natural History Society of Northumbria’s archives, brought to life in this way.

• At the Gallery at Gateshead Library Northern Print comes of age with an exhibition to mark its 21st anniversary and the past two decades of printmaking in the region.

Director of the Biennale and Northern Print Anna Wilkinson commented: “The allure of printmaking is evident at this year’s Biennale with a stunningly strong programme of exhibitions and artists coming to the North East to celebrate this most engaging, accessible and contemporary art form. The European and wider international attraction of the event for artists and visitors alike reminds us that art crosses boundaries and we hope that our passion for print – displayed in churches, galleries, universities and libraries across the region - will inspire more people than ever before to discover a love for it too.”
 
An integral part of the Biennale is the 2016 Print Awards, recognising the most talented international artists currently working in printmaking. This year 31 artists have been selected from 785 entries coming from 16 different countries shortlisted by a specially selected panel. 20 years since his appointment as inaugural Director of the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, writer and curator Sune Nordgren returns to the North East as part of this year’s selection panel of creative professionals, alongside artist Christiane Baumgartner and David Cleaton-Roberts, Director of the Alan Cristea Gallery. These three panellists also each invited one additional artist to be represented in the exhibition; they selected Marina Bindella, Cornelia Parker and Adam Saks as significant artists that should be part of the Biennale.

Work by the selected artists will be exhibited in Newcastle at Northern Print, Vane and Gallery North, and the winners of the seven prestigious printmaking prizes on offer will be announced on 16 September.
 
Anna Wilkinson added: “It’s clear to us already that this year’s Biennale will be a striking showcase of the wealth of printmaking currently being created across the world. For centuries artists have been drawn to print and its allure is not lost on today’s contemporary artists, the work that will be on display from the artists shortlisted for the Awards alone shows the diversity of approaches of an enduring art-form: we have received more entries this year than ever before which tells me that the medium remains relevant internationally. In particular I’m looking forward to seeing the work from Birgit Skiöld who established the first UK open print studio in 1956; Birgit was instrumental in the creation of the ‘British International Print Biennale’ in Bradford, 1962 - the original inspiration for founding the International Print Biennale.”

To find out more or follow events on social media:

• Twitter: @NorthernPrint #IPB16
• Facebook: @NorthernPrint.org.uk
• Instagram: @internationalprintbiennale

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