Same But Different: A Wood Engraving Retrospective by Rob Chapman
Wood engravings and artist’s books
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
About the artist
I have a degree in Painting and Printmaking from many years ago. Initially I taught in secondary education, then worked as a designer and illustrator of educational materials, became a freelance illustrator in books and periodicals, working notably with Osprey Publishing, and have illustration work in several museums and private collections. I took part in group and solo exhibitions of paintings and drawings in galleries in Birmingham and the West Midlands, and more recently in Derbyshire. I have been a lecturer in 2D studies including life drawing, graphic design and painting in colleges throughout the West Midlands and on ceasing my freelance illustration work I returned to
printmaking as my central area of study.
“Rob Chapman has worked as an illustrator for a number of years, initially in children’s books but then specialising in military history. He has worked closely with a number of British regiments and corps and his paintings are held in regimental and public museums, regimental messes and private collections.” Osprey Publishing
About the show
28 January – 11 March at The Smallprint Company
The studio is open Monday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm and is closed Wednesdays and Sundays
Format23, International Photography Festival launches 16 March
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