Angie Lewin’s highly recognisable prints reflect and record the time she spends sketching the native flora of the clifftops and salt marshes of the North Norfolk coast and Scottish Highlands. Her distinctive imagery can be seen across a variety of mediums.
Caption: Shoreline © Angie Lewin
Curated by the artist, this exhibition includes work selected from a wide range of disciplines and periods which will lead us through the inspirations and affinities which have influenced her journey as a printmaker and designer. Paintings, textiles, prints, posters and ceramics by artists and designers including Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden, Alan Reynolds and Paul Morrison will be displayed alongside work from various stages of Angie’s career.
What made you want to turn your hand from printmaking to curating? How did the opportunity come about?
I was invited by Kirsty Nutbeen, who is exhibitions manager at the Hampshire Cultural Trust, to curate an exhibition that brought together a wide range of my influences alongside my own work as an artist/designer.
Does your position and ‘insider knowledge’ as an artist give you an advantage over other curators?
It’s a privilege and a challenge to be asked to work on this project. In a way, I might not describe it as curating as I’ve approached it in a very personal way as a practising artist. My choices have been very subjective and hopefully will show the link between the fine and applied arts.
What makes this exhibition exciting?
I was given a totally open brief and asked to make a ‘wish list’ of pieces that have inspired me. To have been loaned such important pieces of work and to see so many of my influences together in one space is wonderful, as is having the opportunity to select from my work the prints and designs that are most important to me.
How did you decide which of your artworks to include?
I’ve chosen work from different stages of my career. There are sketchbooks and limited edition prints demonstrating each of the processes that I use and also designs for St Jude’s and other commissions.
Can you tell us a bit more about the other artists featured, such as Eric Ravilious and Edward Bawden? What is it about their work that inspires you and why are you including their works in the exhibition?
There are a range of artists from different periods as well as contemporary artists and makers. Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious have been important influences since I left college in the mid-1980’s, for their distinctive work in watercolour, printmaking and commercial design and illustration. I’ve also included many other artists such as Graham Sutherland who worked between the fine and applied arts
Are you inspired by other things? The British countryside, for example?
The British landscape and its native flora are the source and inspiration for all my work. Specific locations where I walk and sketch throughout the seasons are very important to me.
What were some of the main sources you used to research this show, and how did you manage to bring all of these artworks together? What were the challenges?
Kirsty Nutbeen, exhibitions manger, has been invaluable in guiding me through the process of turning my ‘wish list’ of artwork into reality. A private collector, who has one of my prints in his collection, has generously loaned work by Gertrude Hermes and Enid Marx plus other prints that I’d love to have in my own collection! Hampshire Cultural Trust, Tate, Victoria and Albert and my old college, Central St Martins have all generously loaned pieces.
It sounds like this will involve a collection of different media. Can you tell us about how the pieces are organised at the show itself?
Since visiting Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge in the 1980’s I’ve understood the value of displaying art in a domestic setting. The items from the dinner service Ravilious designed for Wedgwood, books, seedheads and other natural finds which I have in my studio plus St Jude’s fabrics and wallpapers will be displayed alongside paintings, prints, drawings and sculpture. The exhibition will reflect aspects of my home and studio, displaying an eclectic range of art and objects.
If you had to pick a favourite piece from this show, what would it be and why?
It’s hard to say, but I’d chose ‘Summer, Young September’s Cornfield’. I bought a postcard of this painting when I went to the Tate for the first time whilst still at school. Although for many years I didn’t know anything about Alan Reynolds it was always on the wall in my home or studio. It seems to have had a subliminal effect on my work.
What would you say characterises your artistic style and influences? Is there anything distinguishing about the colours, patterns or subjects that ties the different pieces together
My work is based on sketching, over a long period of time, the same familiar plants and landscapes. The drawn line is very important to me and also the quality of each of the print processes that I use. I’m attracted to the work of artists who also work in this way and who perhaps have a similar restrained palette, often influenced by the landscape. Graphic stylisation achieved through close observation of subject is a quality which attracts me. A key strand that runs through the work in the gallery will be that the majority of the artists also work in the applied arts successfully transferring their imagery in different media.
What do you hope the overall effect will be for people who visit the exhibition – what do you think they’ll take away from it, either in terms of technique or inspiration or both?
I hope the exhibition will demonstrate the interaction between the fine and applied arts. Many of the artworks relate to botanical subjects from Alan Reynold’s teasels to Paul Morrison’s graphic dandelions depicted in his prints and sculpture. I want to show the hugely diverse approach to this subject. There are many printmakers in the exhibition and it’s important to me to show the infinite range of approaches and applications – everything is interrelated.