Part of the genius of London is its ability to change and transform itself. Over the next few years London’s landscape will alter dramatically with new towers reframing the city’s existing skyline from Nine Elms down to the Square Mile. All to often we don’t see or pay attention to the evolving London skyline, glanced at through the fogged windows of crowded busses and trains along with the lure of the mobile phone we forget to see what lies in front of us.
Lucy Bainbridge’s upcoming solo exhibition Fermata at The Foundry Gallery which opens on 14 April 2017 showcases a new body of work that attempts to capture the ephemeral nature of London. Bainbridge has effectively dematerialized the cityscape unfolding in front of her, giving us a recognisable but estranged vision of London’s skyline.
Through Bainbridge’s multidisciplinary approach to printmaking (she uses photographic screen prints printed directly onto graphite dust with an overlay of drawing and additional screen printing) she challenges our idea of what constitutes a print. Working from photographs taken just before dawn when light is limited and a relative calm envelopes London she then edits her work both digitally and throughout her printmaking process, removing enough detail so that what remains are these beautiful glimpses of stillness in the incessant rhythm of the routine of London.
Each of her prints are made in edition but are all slightly different due to her artistic working process. They are seemingly reminiscent of Whistler’s ‘Nocturnes’ series where he aimed to convey a sense of the beauty and tranquillity of the Thames by night documenting the continuing effects of the industrial revolution on London’s landscape. These were painted in Whistler’s house paradoxically around the corner from The Foundry Gallery in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, London.
Alongside Bainbridge’s smaller scale prints is a large format site-specific artwork screen printed onto billboard paper and pasted onto a 5 metre long wall in The Foundry Gallery. Only lasting in this configuration for the duration of Fermata, the nature of this ‘panelled billboard’ print means that further editions can be installed in any arrangement, essentially becoming part of the very nature of any building in which it is shown. Within this body of work Lucy Bainbridge has successfully paused the enduring rhythm of the city in her prints of the vague yet familiar silhouettes of London. A fermata occurs, and we have the opportunity to linger on a moment of stillness, to consider the ephemeral landscape in front of us, before it transforms itself again.
Since graduating from an MA in Printmaking at Camberwell College of Arts at the University of the Arts London, Lucy Bainbridge was the gallery director for Embassy Tea Gallery (now closed) and set up and now manages Bainbridge Studios where she provides open access print facilities and studio spaces in South London. She has taught on printmaking courses and runs classes in print from her studios. Bainbridge has exhibited her work throughout London, and the UK including the Royal Academy Summer Show, The London Art Fair and The Other Art Fair.