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"LIFE/size - Mixed media work by selected artists from the Printmakers Council "
2002-03-23 until 2002-05-12
PM Gallery and House / Printmakers Council
London, , UK United Kingdom

Organised jointly by PM Gallery and House and the Printmakers Council, LIFE/size provides the opportunity for a large group of artists to explore the notion of scale. Scale is intrinsic to the viewer's experience and is most often measured in relationship to the size of the body. In LIFE/size, the works allow us to consider the visual impact of variation in scale and the consequent effects on how we view, what we see and how we react to the unexpected.

Print-makers often work to physical constraints such as size of paper and presses, so larger works are often the most challenging, yet print is also an ideal medium for allowing the viewer close consideration of a single idea in miniature. LIFE/size will focus less on print techniques and look instead at ideas and concepts, examining how size changes our relationship to an image by comparing and contrasting the two approaches with works larger than the body and smaller than the hand. The works included in the show will be sited in both the Gallery and the restored rooms of the Pitshanger Manor and bring together installations, wall hangings, a toy theatre and free standing pieces as well as hung prints.

The Artists and the Work

The relationship with land to a map or diagrammatic representation of it, underlies several works including Carl Rowe's Ring Road, a series of embossings taken from selected locations around the Norwich City ring road, carrying a physical impression of the texture or object at a specific location on a scale of 1:1, with accompanying photographic images at a scale of 1:100. Carinna Parraman has mapped her journey to and from work on a series of grids printed onto 5cm squares and mounted on muslin. Scale is indicated by the size of the grid onto which varying degrees of detail is delineated to uncover paths, routes, road markings and imprints of human traffic. Tessa Holmes produces a ‘mapscape’ in lightboxes to explore new ways of summoning up and illuminating a physical terrain.

Other approaches explore the relationships between people and their domestic surroundings and representations of children and child-size artefacts are prevalent. In Mother Knows Best, Pernille Holm-Mercer examines the way in which a tiny baby can be experienced as immense and overwhelming, through repeated photographic images of a crying baby set against colour panels, printed with words, which suggest a cause for the distress. Aine Scannell's images of children amidst the iconography of small houses, refers to the mental and physical space we occupy as we grow into adulthood and our subjective relationship with our feeling for the home, which we may never outgrow. Sheila Sloss creates a domestic scene, with views through a 7' high collage doorway, where we can glimpse a real size toy house and question the relative size of objects and the occupants, represented by uninhabited clothes. Steve Mumberson’s Anatomy Table lays out body parts on a child-size table and chairs to confound expectations of appropriate settings.

Other works range from Norma Silverton's remaking of a sound scale in free standing panels of perspex, developing in colour from raw umber to magenta, to Lela Wydra Yanor’s silkscreen prints of stones and free standing stone column, suggesting we consider how stones can have unexpected impact beyond their relative size alone. Elizabeth Peer's work includes ‘Walking Pictures’, (the name for a practice common between the wars and up to the early 1960s, when itinerant photographers would pounce on unwary seaside holiday makers and strollers and take 4 quick snaps), made from 4 glass sheets, silkscreen printed with shadows. By changing the scale and turning the figures represented into objects, Peer challenges the space/reality illusion of the original photographs.

Many pieces play directly with size/reality conundrums - Caroline Coode represents the vast landscapes of Nepal in a small book of wood engravings whilst Pauline Watson's miniature concertina narratives, made from folded etchings, turn scale on its head with each consecutive image. Kim Ng prints onto a long scroll of Chinese rice paper to summarise, in imagery, ten years of life in the West from the East. Frances Murray's black and white carborundum and collograph prints explore magnitude through the theme of shadow, whilst Christine Farrell's toy theatre proposes a ballet production about food. Carole Hensher places enlarged hand-prints on canvas whilst Susan Ryland’s etching and reliefprints explore the boundaries of micro/macro cosmic space using found materials and digital imagery.

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