The International Print Biennale will take place across the North East of England from 16th September to 30th October 2016, celebrating the role of print in contemporary artists’ practice. The event attracts over 130,000 visitors and the Biennale's Print Awards receive submissions from over 40 countries. Work will be exhibited across 25 venues, including the Vane Gallery in Newcastle which will showcase three woodcuts by Tom Hammick:
Violetta and Alfredo's Escape
This woodcut was inspired during Hammick's residency at the English National Opera whilst watching La Traviata. The lovers Violetta and Alfredo are pictured on their brief sojourn to the outskirts of Paris during their elopement from the bourgeoisie. Unlike the tragic outcome in the opera, in this image they are defying the hypocritical morals of society and making a break for it.
This woodcut was produced during a residency at St John’s Print Shop in Newfoundland. Whilst salmon fishing, Hammick came across a zinc plaque, nailed to a tree, hand etched with simple drawings of hunting and fishing gear and a narrative about a young man who had lost his life by the river. The commemoration was made with great love and affection. In this artwork, a man stands hardly noticed, next to his painted shack. Over the blackfly netted door, moose’s antlers hang as an ode to Elizabeth Bishop’s poem about wonderment of the same title.
Waiting for Time
This piece celebrates an intense romantic connection between a couple; two figures living life on an island. As in the first Act of Tristan and Isolde, they are cocooned in their passion away from the world. Hammick has conjured up as much a feeling of loss as intense happiness through their isolation and the terrestrial distance that separates them from the urban life they have run from. The image is also in part inspired by a Pablo Neruda poem titled Enigmas about the extraordinary mystery of sea life, and from a found photograph of a tiny pacific island threatened by rising seas due to climate change. The surrounding sea adds a metaphorical dimension to the fragility of love.