Rob Chapman launches his retrospective exhibition of prints and artist’s books ‘Same But Different’ in The Smallprint Company Studio Gallery, Derby.
Rob Chapman’s thought-provoking and intimate examination of the individual in times of upheaval and tragic disruption is powerful and evocative, with the choice of wood engraving serving to heighten the viewers’ awareness of tiny details and major injustices.
Rob first started practicing the discipline of wood engraving in 2014, having previously made paintings and working as an illustrator. Using mainly paint and pen and ink, cutting a block he found, was a new and challenging occupation.
The retrospective reflects the journey so far, with the earlier work looking at the woods in which he walks most days. The consideration and reflection on a woodland which has existed in some form for many hundreds of years, invited further exploration and fictionalisation with Rob explaining that his work has always been a narrative.
“[Finding] the sounds of the trees and the unseen animal life would evoke images of those dwellers, workers and exploiters of, and in, the environment. Such ephemeral images would lead to investigation of the connections between the woodland and its inhabitants and provide a means to view them more closely.”
It is probably no surprise therefore that this avenue led him to look at these human involvements, reviewing aspects of the lives we lead as communities and individuals, and the peoples that were subject to enormous historical and contemporary experiences; Rob doesn’t just consider the physical form but expressions of their condition.
“My subjects and my working practices are, and will continue to be, the same but different.”
Rob Chapman, 2023
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