On the edge: an exhibition of screen prints
4 – 19 December 2010
Exhibition catalogue available (for on-line catalogue, please click link at bottom of page, or contact us for printed version)
The first exhibition of Walter Battiss after his death in 1982 devoted entirely to his screen prints is on show at GALLERY AOP until 19 December. Battiss pioneered screen printing in South Africa. He was the first artist to explore screen printmaking as a medium in its own right as early as 1954, mounting the first art exhibition in South Africa consisting solely of his screen prints in 1956. He was also the first South African artist to make an artist’s book entirely of hand printed screens (Nesos, 1968). In addition, he organized the first group exhibition of South African screen printmaking at Unisa in 1970.
“The screen print is the artist’s cheapest printing medium and new effects can be obtained with it. It is a wonderful process for the artist who can use the screen in a hundred different ways.” (Battiss, 1955:51)
Screen printmaking suited Battiss perfectly: it provided him with a technologically advanced medium that he incorporated in his perennial quest for being at the cutting edge of the latest developments in the art world. It was the ideal medium to explore the use of bright colours and the rendering of the movement of figures.
On the edge is the third in a series of exhibitions hosted by GALLERY AOP that focuses on the work of Battiss. The first show, in August 2008, featured, among others, rare screen prints Battiss did in Germany in 1969 with master printer Josef Kroll, in which he combined photography in the screen printing process. The second exhibition, in September 2009, covered a vast spectrum of Battiss’s drawings, ranging from the early, realistic drawings of the 1930s and 40s, to the impressionistic Limpopo drawings of the early 1950s and the calligraphic ones of the late 1950s, to the orgy drawings of the 1970s and early 80s. The current show features prints from his well-known 1973/4 screen prints which are a highly colourful rendering of entangled erotic figures.