Calum Hall: No. 29

Sat 1 Jun - Fri 9 Aug 2019
Eagle Feet Gallery, An Tobar

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This series of prints and paintings are about the materials Calum has used across his working life. When he studied printmaking at Falmouth, he used copper plates to make intaglio prints. The prints focused around the landscape, the coast and the sea. Three themes that continue to influence his artistic career.

A strong inspiration is derived from the world of electronics, this fascination began with his father’s engineering background and business. Copper (Atomic Number 29) is an excellent electrical conductor and "is a fascinating material to work with."

The eighth most abundant metal on earth, copper was forged in supergiant stars that exploded as supernovae. The first metal used in any major quantity in human history, the Bronze Age is named after a copper alloy, it’s success due to its resistance to corrode and easy formation into utensils and jewellery. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century by Gutenberg vastly increased the demand for copper because of the ease with which the metal could be engraved or etched.

These pieces are inspired by maritime communications. Nautical flags were originally used in ancient military encounters and by 1653 the Royal Navy issued instructions by signalling with flags, modern naval code signalling began with the invention of maritime signal flags in the mid-17th century by the Duke of York. Numerous signal books were published after these systems, culminating in the International Code of Signals, which has gone through a few revisions but still proves useful as most navies still use the ICS flags for representing letters.

The compositions in each of the copper prints are ICS flag standard forms but multilayered, like photographic film. Creating compositions from current news headlines, but inspired by design elements and movements of the twentieth century such as Plasticism and Dada, and the Bauhaus school. Influences are Anni Albers, Mondrian, Schwitters and designer Peter Saville. The copper prints are mostly in the standard size of vinyl or disc sleeves and use industrial printing techniques for printing on copper alloys.

The copper paintings are about process, the manipulation of paint over time creating randomised patterns and flows over the metal surface. A playful process that creates irregular patterns.

Two prints from this series were exhibited in the Royal Scottish Academy for the 121st Society of Scottish Artists exhibition in 2018.