Centre for Fine Print Research University of the West of England Centre for Fine Print Research
  The British Channel Seen from the Dorsetshire Cliffs (detail) 1871

Artist Reuben Powell

Elephant and Castle Project

CFPR ARTIST INVITATION
Collaborators: Reuben Powell, Carinna Parraman & Paul Laidler
Date: 20th - 30th September 2010

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As part of the CFPR's commitment and interest toward the production of fine art prints the wide format digital print facility has begun selecting artists to produce a small edition of prints. The invitation process selects artist work that may have future research applications whilst benefiting from the opportunity of accessing the CFPR's wide format ink-jet printing facilities and contribute to the centre's eclectic print archive.

Reuben Powell is artist in residence at the Elephant and Castle where he has been working and exhibiting from his studio/gallery over the past year recording the regeneration of the area from the point of view of a long term resident of this often maligned part of London with a fresh and compelling perspective. The regeneration of the Elephant and Castle is the largest scheme of its kind in Europe and represents a significant change in the urban landscape of London. The project has taken the form of large-scale graphite drawings on paper and a series of oil paintings on tin plate steel. Reuben also provides eye opening workshops with local school children from his warehouse studio.


Taking his large-scale drawings as a starting point Reuben has produced a series of unique prints using a Roland eco-solvent based digital printer to print on to metal sheets. The prints have been made in collaboration with Senior Research Fellow Dr Carinna Parraman and assisted by Research Associate Paul Laidler at the Centre for Fine Print Research. The digital process being used splits the recorded drawing files into a series of bitmap and vector based layers enabling the work to benefit from the Roland printers multi-pass function, white ink and gloss enhancer facilities. Using one of only a handful of these specialist machines in the UK Reuben has brought together the drawings with his work on metal to produce prints unlike anything seen before. Here the reflective surface of the metal is animated and changes with movement and light.

The original works on paper have a sublime quality. The drawings are made up of large expanses of graphite, sweeping strokes of grey that plunge and soar through a condemned landscape. They form part of a permanent record of an unstoppable urban change, ambivalence of the consequences and bleak but characterful past. Their new reproduction on metal using this advanced process increases the depth of the picture plane and breathes a new life and perspective to these works.