Perhaps the establishment of photography as a mainstream medium of contemporary art has contributed to lowering the profile of traditional fine art printmaking.
Whatever the reason, it seems there are fewer open exhibitions of printmaking nowadays – but that only adds more significance to the RBSA’s, launched as recently as 2004 and which is returning for the third time. It demonstrates there is no shortage of excellent work being produced
With seven invited artists showing alongside 72 selected from open submission, the exhibition strikes a good balance between RBSA regulars and a cross-section nationwide, including acknowledged standard-setters such as wood engravers Hilary Paynter and Kate Dicker.
Representational images tend to predominate and while new technology is represented by inkjet prints (notably in David Brown’s atmospheric Tunnel) there is a strong showing from the ancient and recently revived craft of wood engraving.
This lends itself to an intimate scale and, in the hands of artists like Hilary Wilson and Anne Desmet, the creation of dark, dreamlike worlds.