A different way of working

Friday 9 November 2007

An exhibition featuring prints by St Andrews-born artist, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, opens at the University of St Andrews tomorrow (Friday 16 November), to coincide with a major new publication on her life’s work.

A Different Way of Working: the Prints of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, at the Gateway Galleries, showcases the work of one of Britain’s leading abstract artists.  Born in St Andrews in 1912, Barns-Graham settled in St Ives, Cornwall, in 1940, where she joined a well established community of artists, whose members included Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth and Bernard Leach.  In 1960 she inherited Balmungo, a house on the edge of St Andrews, and from then on, she spent a part of every year in Scotland.  Although she is perhaps better known for her paintings, Barns-Graham made prints throughout her working life, experimenting with etching, linocut, lithography and screenprinting. This exhibition includes published and unpublished prints from all periods of her long career.

The exhibition contains 35 prints, some of which have never before been on show to the public.  Together they chart Barns-Graham’s changing interests and artistic styles. Though much of her work is abstract, it is rooted in a keen observation of the world around her.  She observed recurring patterns, colours and forms in everyday life, such as ‘crowds, rush hours, fish swarms, bird flights, cell formations, backs of ferns, inside foxglove plants’. The resulting prints range from the delicate and minimalist etching, Eight Lines, to the bright, multi-layered screenprints of the Millennium Series. Visitors can also see preparatory work and printmaking equipment borrowed from the artist’s former home and studios.

Most of the exhibits have been borrowed from the Barns-Graham Charitable Trust but two of the prints were bequeathed to the University by the artist.  The Trust also funds a scholarship in the School of Art History to support post-graduate research on 20th century art.

The exhibition is curated by Ann Gunn, Lecturer in Museum and Gallery Studies at the University of St Andrews, and marks the publication of her new book `The prints of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: A Complete Catalogue’.

A Different Way of Working runs at the Gateway Galleries, Gateway Building, North Haugh, St Andrews, from 17 November 2007 – 8 March 2008 and is open seven days a week, 9am – 5.30pm (10am – 5pm weekends).  It is accompanied by a varied programme of educational events.

For further information, please contact Ann Gunn, Lecturer, School of Art History, Tel. 01334 462356 or email [email protected]   


Issued by the Press Office
Ref: Barns-Graham 151107
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