The Skin of the Print exhibition at Chichester's Oxmarket Gallery

Peter Moseley
Peter Moseley

The Skin of the Print offers an exhibition by international artists of photographic prints made using 19th century processes – taking place in Chichester’s Oxmarket Gallery from October 8-20.

Show spokesman Peter Moseley, of St James Road, Chichester, said: “The photographic scientists and artists of the nineteenth century left us a wealth of processes and techniques that continues to inform and excite photographers and audiences today.

“Modern technologies, of course, provide instant picture capture and colour displays undreamt of in photography’s infancy, but early practitioners could choose from a wide range of more physical material and texture effects that we are now reviving and re-using.

“The new exhibition is called, with good reason, The Skin of the Print. On display will be contemporary works from an international group of artists, all of whom hand-craft their pictures using photographic printing methods as invented in the nineteenth century.

“Crafted on art-paper, these wonderfully rich techniques produce prints with a real sense of texture and surface, which contrast strongly with modern digital screen displays. The prints have a life and feel about them which is very engaging.

“What marks out the works in this exhibition is that they all carry the ‘mark and hand of the maker’. These prints are not made by industrial processes and technology. Each piece is carefully crafted by the artist demonstrating the power of the texture and tactile surface of the early processes, their materiality, colours, literally and metaphorically, the reading and affective impression of the work.”

Amongst the 12 artists to be shown are Peter’s moving photographic-etchings.

“This process is known as ‘photogravure’. It was initially developed in the 1850s by Henry Fox Talbot, our first and most famous photographic inventor, and requires the image to be etched into a metal plate which, covered in special inks, is then printed on to paper through heavy rollers.”

Peter works with mainly older sitters, both nude studies and portraits. His prints powerfully evoke something of the impact of life on his subjects – their strengths and sadnesses and understanding. His intimate pictures capture beauty in the older body.

“Bill Moseley from Australia (no relation as yet traced, though Bill’s family emigrated 160 years ago from the same part of the West Midlands that Peter comes from) is also showing photographic etchings.

“He writes that he is drawn to the darkly romantic world of remembered imagery, the fallible memory and the persistence of myths. All his work is about the earth and true sense of belonging.

“Constanza Isaza Martínez’s approach is very different and shows a lighter beauty. It arises from her interest in sixteenth and seventeenth-century still life, particularly Dutch and Flemish Vanitas paintings. Her photographic etchings, known as photogravures, are printed on very fine Japanese tissue papers, and evoke still-life painting through their emphasis on lighting, texture and detail.

“The cyanotype or blueprint process, invented in the 1840s, is one of Laura Ellenberger’s preferred techniques. She is showing studies of bodies, where the disrupted surfaces and fragmented images add another layer to the surface and challenges how we expect to see the body. Nettie Edwards, in contrast, makes anthotypes, another process from the 1840s, using dyes from crushed flowers to make her pictures. The themes of her work concern memory, sight, loss and identities.

“Anatoly Cherkasov lives in Moscow and practices large format photography in all its forms. He specialises in landscapes, particularly in the Ukraine.”

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