This exhibition revisits some of the themes she began exploring in a previous series of large etchings etched on aluminium plates. These prints reference the exhilaration of children at play, tapping into some cherished memories of her earlier life.She reflects on the importance of place in triggering memories of childhood and how this interacts with our sense of identity.
In Somewhere Far From Home we see Grace’s responses to her early encounters with China.There is an interesting frisson between the exotic landscape with its domed hills and the relentless spread of technology via the encroaching power lines.
Where Once We Played is the first of the etchings completed in Shenzhen.
Here we can see the return to images of childhood transported to her new environment in China. The tiny scale of the children and their toys inhabit a skilfully rendered setting featuring a range of delicate greys and rich dark aquatints.
In Coming to Understand Space Grace has created a beautifully crafted aquatint etching where her childhood characters reappear as dancers with swirling silk scarves.The whole composition generates a lively sense of rhythm via the sweeping curves of the fabrics rendered in delicate tones.It comes across as a celebration of the joy of movement so often seen in childrens’ play.
Coming to Understand Time continues her exploration of the intertwined themes of the passage of time, memories of childhood, and the importance of place in connecting us to our sense of identity. In this more contemplative work the central figures appear to be absorbed into a timeless stillness as they focus on a board game.The buildings and trees of the surrounding courtyard partake of this stillness, a moment to reflect on the passage of time and to reflect on what remains in memory.This print contrasts beautifully with the preceding etching that evokes the joi de vivre of the body in motion as it interacts with space.
Finally we have Grace’s series of small colour etchings.I particularly like the paired images of Lenny the dog who has taken possession of a comfortable cushion and wants us to know it.Lenny flows into the chair and seems aware of his special status.He’s drawn with a simple, relaxed line that seems perfect for this purpose.
I would like to congratulate Grace for her achievements as seen in this fine exhibition.The Guanlan residency has certainly paid dividends for her continued professional development as a printmaker and we can only look forward to seeing more of her work in coming exhibitions.