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Print Studio Residency: Q&A with Jacqueline Butler

24 April 2017

We caught up with Jacqueline Butler who has recently become a Doctoral Artist-in-Residence with DCA Print Studio, funded by the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities. The main aim of the residency is for an artist to work across a range of printmaking and 3D technologies, exploring the old and new through a range of print processes and software packages.

Hi Jacqueline, can you tell us briefly about yourself and what you've been up to?

As an artist and an academic I have always balanced my arts practice with a full-time job as a Principal Lecturer at Manchester School of Art, MMU. My practice crosses over photography, filmmaking, 3D printing, writing and publication. I have a particular interest in cross-disciplinary work. I originate from Glasgow and in 2013 I decided it was the right time for me to return to study, to allow time to reflect on my arts practice; I also had a yearning to spend more time in Scotland. I applied for a PhD and began my studies at Glasgow School of Art in the School of Fine Art in January 2014. 

"My practice crosses over photography, filmmaking, 3D printing, writing and publication."

I have always thought it important to support research and opportunities for arts practitioners and was the Honorary Secretary of APHE (Association for Photography in Higher Education) for over five years. I am currently co founder and a member of the coordination team for a national artists group FTN (Family Ties Network), we develop events, exhibitions and film screenings both in the UK and internationally. I am an Executive Board Member of Open Eye Gallery, a photography gallery based in Liverpool, England, and was recently appointed onto the Advisory Board of The Image Research Network, an international network that promotes the interrogation of image making and images through international annual conferences, publications and exhibitions.

What do you hope to get out of the residency in DCA Print Studio?

"I hope the working methods I develop during this period will create potential to expand and extend the understanding and usage of traditional printmaking."

My intention for this residency is to develop skills in traditional printmaking processes and explore weaving these acquired skills with skills I have in analogue photography technology and 3D digital platforms. I hope the working methods I develop during this period will create potential to expand and extend the understanding and usage of traditional printmaking.

    

I aim to create visual representations of imagined landscape, concentrating on the idea of the imprint and the tactility of relief studies, mapping the textures and surfaces of landscapes to create an imagined place both through print and virtual space. Focusing on my personal experience and contemplations on the mythology of Scottish landscapes, the location of the residency gives me the opportunity to source inspiration from the local landscape and geography of Fife.

  

By the end of the residency my intention is to develop a series of artworks to exhibit in Dundee in the future, and to generate a series of questions around printmaking and new technology in collaboration with DCA Print Studio that can be developed into a platform for debate.

We hear you've got a fascination with archives and collections, can you tell us a bit more about this?

I began working with archives over ten years ago when visiting the National Media Museum (then the National Museum of Film, Photography and Television). I was lucky enough to be given full access to some wonderful 19th Century glass negatives made by the photographer Charles Dodgson (better know as Lewis Carroll).

"When reflecting on archives and collections what has a lasting impression on me is the atmosphere"

From this collection and reading Carroll’s stories of Wonderland I created a series of works titled Paper and Glass Landscapes. This work has been exhibited in the UK, Europe and India and was the catalyst for my interest in developing fantasylands from collections hidden in archives. I have continued to develop my ideas by making regular visits to a number of archives.

I now realise that I am not only attracted to collections but also the physical space they inhabit, the archive itself. When reflecting on archives and collections what has a lasting impression on me is the atmosphere, which I can only describe as that of stillness and intensity. This is what attracts me as this ‘habit’ feeds my imagination.

Can you tell us a little about the PhD you're currently undertaking too?

I juggle a demanding full-time job alongside my PhD, this makes study time sporadic, with intensive periods for research and, sadly, times of unwanted neglect.  

My research considers what constitutes a photograph in the 21s century, reflecting on early photography. My thoughts and visual responses take inspiration from the history of media practice; from the enchantment of the magic lantern shows that pre-date photography and film, to the wonder of the virtual space of 3D software.

I develop my arts practice in a changing working environment; the darkroom, the kitchen, the studio, the living room, the library or the train (on my numerous journeys between Manchester, Glasgow and now Dundee). Whilst sitting on the train or in the car, or out walking I concentrate my thoughts and ideas around the imagined landscape, on light and shadow, colour and tone. Walking and travelling help me reflect on my writing and making.

"I concentrate my thoughts and ideas around the imagined landscape, on light and shadow, colour and tone"

In terms of exhibiting your work, what kind of format does this generally take?

I work across several disciplines; photography (analogue and digital), moving image installations, writing and publication. Most recently I have become interested in 3D printing processes, particularly photogrammetry (the use of photography in surveying and mapping to ascertain measurements between objects). The artworks I tend to produce are a fusion of processes resulting in analogue/digital hybrids.

Recently I contributed to Tall Tales, a National touring exhibition of 17 international women artists exploring the playful use of storytelling. The exhibition toured London in spring 2016 at Freud Museum London, Swiss Cottage Gallery & Library and the Portman and Tavistock Clinic, then on to Touchstones Rochdale and Rochdale Central Library, Lancashire, and Glasgow Women’s Library (GWL). I have exhibitions planned at the Stephen Lawrence Gallery, London in Autumn 2017 and at Midlands Art Centre (MAC) in Birmingham in Summer 2018.

Thank you for chatting to us Jacqueline! We look forward to seeing what you're going to create in your time in DCA Print Studio!

      

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