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Design: Neil Stewart 2017

 

We moved down from Edinburgh at the turn of the millenium and originally ( having trained as a sculptor) I invested a lot of energy into constructing large, figurative pieces incorporating people and animals, intertwined and symbiotic.  Here`s an example: 

http://forest-loper.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/the-rove-of-blue-blue-sea.html

I then chose to revisit lino printing as a much more immediate (though no less physical) medium through which to tell my “stories”.

I love the “constraints” of lino cut, especially black on white. In the printed image`s  wide, white, paper border there are echoes of the printed page.

Throughout 2016 I started to express what I feel about the more westerly towns hugging the Tweed, and created a series of narrative images, quite cinematic in design, which related my experience of living in this river valley.  I wanted others to see what I was seeing, because  I found there was a lot of beauty there; especially where the natural world encroaches upon the fragile  worlds we`ve constructed over long generations. The hills, forests, river and  weather. The shy wildlife, the farmed and corralled tamelife.

The culmination of this project was an exhibition at the Eastgate Arts Centre, Peebles,  during August and September 2017

I like that the limitations of the cutting tools  bring about a clarity; make you create distinct textures and clear patterns, each separated like the gap between words.  Like an OS map, the cutting lines can help describe the contours of hills, the flow of a river. 

I find  unrestrained, story telling inspiration in the lino cuts of Namibian artist John Muafangejo;  in the dizzying perspectives of Kate Downie`s charcoal drawings;  the draughtsman-like perfection in Herge`s comic strips; the patterns found in the fields, tree-copses and skies of William Gillies`s Midlothian landscapes.

About me

I remember once, long before the new millennium, making a series of lino prints about a holiday I`d had in Cornwall with my flatmates, over a New Year. I made the images because, though I retained memories and some photographs, these didn`t string anything like the entirety of the experiences we`d had together. There was no linking narrative. And in creating the prints, I was recreating the events themselves. Like stories. Like songs. Breathing new life into what would have slowly and inexorably faded to nothing.