London Original Print Fair 37th Edition

After 35 years, the capital’s longest-running print fair has moved from its first home at the Royal Academy of Arts to the magnificent Georgian quadrangle that is Somerset House.

This equally historic building is a fitting venue to view and buy top quality original prints, some dating back five centuries.

London-based painter-printmaker Denise Ballard-Wyllie presents a powerful and atmospheric selection of original screenprints – available alongside prints by masters such as Rembrandt, Matisse and Picasso. She’s in similarly good company with contemporaries of the calibre of David Hockney and Grayson Perry.

Artist Denise Ballard-Wyllie (left) and RE Vice President Melanie Griffiths

You can find her work at the Royal Society of Painter-Printmaker (RE) stand W16. The RE has been going since 1880 and Denise informs us: “the society embraces all new technologies and as Dr David Ferry, the RE president, said recently, there is no hierarchy; all processes and styles are valuable.” 

Denise’s past creative sojourns to Japan to see and paint cherry blossom informs the expressive floral prints in Cuthbert: Sakura Storm. The subject is a fashion designer with the same name and the titular piece is the latest in a series of thematically layered versions.

The ‘Sakura Storm’ blossoms across the Nepalese handmade pink paper with a flower shower that decorates the subject. Sakura is another word for cherry blossom. The work speaks of the abundance and energy of spring-summer and offers expressive reflections on her own sojourns.

Cuthbert: Sakura Storm.

Denise says: “There’s a translucent grey and strong black line which helps him seep through the paper and feel present. When I make portraits of people I want the viewer to engage with the type of atmosphere they feel when they make eye contact or notice people. It can be quite subtle. Not mid-conversation or consciously engaging but noticing another person either in repose or having private thoughts.”

And sakura is the inspiration again in The Cherry Blossom From The Effervescences of Summer. This is a more vivid, fiery and lively depiction of seasonal sunshine and growth: summery reds and yellows dominate. Her visceral use of this palette captures seasonal tensions as well as summer’s abundant offerings.

She says: “The work shows a layered example of trees. The colours underneath, the blues and yellow seep through and create an atmosphere around the vibrant, living, structure of the tree. The colours give a feeling of heat, and the marks liveliness.”

The Cherry Blossom From The Effervescences of Summer.

Both these works are screenprints. At the print fair, you’ll discover a wide range of styles employed by artists using diverse mediums and materials. Printmaking techniques include relief prints, intaglio prints and planographic prints. And within those groupings: screenprints, linocuts, woodcuts, metal engraving, mezzotints and etching, to name a few.

To find out more, visit Stand W16 in Somerset House’s West Wing. Hopefully, you’ll catch Denise there and she can fill you in on processes and materials. Prospective buyers and art lovers alike can get up close to the work and study her expressive use of colour and even discuss personal narratives and signatures in her style.

While you’re there, look out for her Crown of Thorns Stone Lithograph, £198 unframed (edition of 15) and Sakura Kyoto screenprint £198 unframed (edition of 40).

Also, her work will be shown at the RE’s own RE Original Prints 2022, May 13 – June 10. Two of her screenprints are on show – Blue Rambling Rose – gold evening (£320 framed, £198 unframed) and Arbour-Pathway to Mr Austin (£320 framed, £198 unframed). Catch her at their ‘Meet The Artists’ event Sunday, June 5th, 1-3 pm.

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WHAT? – The London Original Print Fair

WHERE? – Somerset House, The Strand, WC2R 1LA.

WHEN? – Until May 29

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WHAT? – RE Original Prints 2022

WHERE? – Bankside Gallery, 48 Hopton Street, London SE1 9JH.

WHEN? – May 13 – June 10

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WHAT? – ‘Meet The Artists’ – RE Original Prints 2022

WHERE? – Bankside Gallery, 48 Hopton Street, London SE1 9JH.

WHEN? – Sunday, June 5th, 1-3 pm.

Published by Slipstream Media

Arts Media and Production Company