Patronage in the world of art remains integral. The intimate network of support that is built between artists, collectors and galleries can have far-reaching impact and long-lasting influence. Within these exchanges, one gains an education, an opportunity and often, close friendship.
This is true of Dr. Mark Golder and Brian Thompson, long-time friends of Rabley Gallery and collectors who epitomise how small acts of generosity and kind interest can create a large impact in art education, creation and discovery.
This feature will introduce Dr. Mark Golder and Brian Thompson’s wonderful approach to collecting art, whilst additionally celebrating the artists of Rabley Gallery, whose work, endeavours and differing approaches to contemporary print-making enliven Mark and Brian’s passion.
The Gift of Art
Dr. Mark Golder and Brian Thompson began their journey as teachers, sharing a fondness of education and allowing young minds to grow. A care for learning draws parallels with their long-founded penchant for collecting works on paper.
In his own words, Mark describes his vocations as “I see my life as having three components: relationships (look after those to whom you are close), job (look after the students), and interest (look after places which want to acquire and who art).” Works on paper and prints champion diversity, dynamism and democracy, which has allowed Mark and Brian the opportunity to spread awareness and appreciation of these wonderful bodies of art for all.
The Golder – Thompson Gift stands now as a long lasting partnership with the Pallant House Gallery, having contributed more than 500 works over the course of twenty years.
Giving meaning to one’s life is important, and a love of art is powerful in enabling this. From speaking to Brian and Mark, it is inspiring to see how close they both are to every piece in their collection. Their dedication to share these interactions and eagerness to inspire new ones for visitors and the wider public, signifies just how meaningful the collection of the Golder – Thompson Gift has been for artists, art-lovers and everyone involved.
The Golder - Thompson Gift and Artists of Rabley Gallery
For the last 15 years, Meryl Ainslie and the Rabley Gallery team are proud to have worked together and introduce major publications to the Golder – Thompson Gift.
We would like to publicly thank Mark and Brian for their continued fervour in the world of works on paper, their whole-hearted interest in all artists and their warm company over the years.
Below we have highlighted some of the wonderful artworks from artists represented by Rabley Gallery featured in the collection of the Golder – Thompson Gift.
Ian Chamberlain – Sat VI
Exploring the intersection of architecture and technology, Ian Chamberlain’s artworks combine complex technologies and monumental structures.
Sat VI, and the larger Sat series, references communication antennae based at the Goonhilly Earth Station in Cornwall. This powerful tool of communications around the earth and beyond, to deep space is enriched by the ancient printmaking medium of etching and deep graphic intensity.
Etching is an archaic process of engraving, (used in the decoration of medieval armour plates, for example). Where Ian adopts the medium to depict highly modernised technologies, a fascinating dialogue begins with the past.
“The majority of the subjects and locations I record were considered at the forefront of technology during their lifetime. These technologies are now defunct or reconfigured for different uses, the unrelenting obsolescence of technology leaving these monuments behind, the pace of technological advancement continually moving forwards. The etching process enables me to make a sustained enquiry into the subject’s structure, location and the effects of time passing. It becomes my own visual experience and a graphic equivalent to an observed moment in time.” – Ian Chamberlain
Katherine Jones – The Water Margin
The work of Katherine Jones often depicts quiet moments of natural beauty. These are imbued with personal profoundness, and a sentiment of intimacy and closeness with the earth on which we stand.
Printed as a collagraph and block print, a technique in which texture is used to hold ink rather than engraved grooves, The Water Margin demonstrates how using humble materials combined with earthy tones can create luminous expressions of nature.
Katherine printed this work and others in 2010 at Durham Wharf which was then the home of the painter Mary Fedden and artist, Julian Trevelyan on the edge of the River Thames in Chiswick. In a lovely continuation of the story, the press that printed Katherine’s editions travelled to the Pallant House Gallery a few years later for a retrospective of Julian Trevelyan’s work and is still in use today.
“The image is inspired by and refers to the River Thames which runs past the end of the garden at Durham Wharf. It draws a loose visual connection to Hammersmith Bridge and the light reflected on the water at night.” – Katherine Jones
Eileen Cooper RA – Skipper
In this woodcut from 2009, Eileen Cooper demonstrates how medium and subject can synergise with fluidity and grace. Using Japanese bamboo barren to control ink and printing, the artist incorporates natural details of the process such as the emerging effect of wood grain.
The image was proofed and editioned with a fellow Rabley Gallery artist, Sara Lee, who Eileen has worked closely with. Printed on Torinoko paper, Eileen thanks close friend and printmaker Katsutoshi Tuasa for their instrumental influence in the print. ‘Skipper’ is a testament of how open collaboration between artists can produce wonderful outcomes, as well as beautiful prints.
“I wanted the process to be very direct and straightforward, keeping the colour minimal, deciding not to use multiple blocks and to let the cutting speak for itself. The initial drawing was made in Indian ink on birch faced plywood bought from a local wood yard and cut in my home studio. The 4 images in this series, in editions of 15, are all very fluid, in keeping I hope with the imagery of boats, water and journeys.” – Eileen Cooper RA
Sara Lee – Within Reach
Sara Lee’s artworks present the world with transcending beauty. These are ephemeral landscapes, inspired by walking and working from the land. Achieving harmonic glimpses of warm light, Sara Lee’s colourations aim to transport the viewer to distant domains and familiar lands.
Within Reach is a woodcut made from two Japanese ply blocks. The image is carved, sanded and distressed with wire brushes from the blocks and then inked with five closely related colours in blended bands. It is printed through an adapted etching press on to Somerset Velvet Newsprint Grey 250gsm.
“My images are a response to the ephemeral nature of the land and question our profound emotional and physical relationship with it, especially at this time of ominous environmental change. My practice involves walking in and working from the land followed by extended studio-based work. My images often reflect a point of dramatic change in light – at dusk or dawn, in moonlight or an approaching storm. Within Reach is part of a series referencing the compelling, yet illusive, line of horizon viewed across water, that can never be reached.” – Sara Lee
Nana Shiomi – Mitate No. 48 – Mirror (Kagami)
The term ‘mitate’ refers to a process of thought that has a long history in Japanese culture; it is a form of analogy, comparing one thing to another. Nana Shiomi’s ‘100 Views of Mitate’, a series of colour wood block prints made between 1996 and 2016) encapsulates her unique amalgamation of artistic ideas from east and west. Each presents an ‘icon’ on a stage set against an earth-red background.
The pictured artwork was specially printed to demonstrate the Japanese woodcut method at Rabley Gallery. This event was held for the friends of Pallant House Gallery.
This print is a particular favourite of Brian’s, who not only believes in it’s aesthetic impact, but also in the artist.
“Objects become more than single elements when repositioned in their total context, and their relationships can then be seen in a new light. In the Mitate series, my objective is to have the viewer choose any of the 100 elements that take their fancy and give them new meaning by creating their own combinations and associations. This viewer selection then, will give new life to and take on new meanings for the worn-out and antiquated symbols of Japanese culture.” – Nana Shiomi
An opportunity to explore the wonderful collection of The Golder – Thompson Gift is available at:
Hockney to Himid: 60 Years of British Printmaking
Saturday 13th November 2021 – Sunday 24th April 2022
Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, PO19 1TJ
“Showcasing a wide range of artists, styles and techniques, this exhibition celebrates the extraordinary upsurge of printmaking from the 1960s to now.”
View Featured Works in Our Online Shop:
A Note From the Author
In 2017, I was lucky enough to visit the Pallant House Gallery De’Longhi Print Room to see a small exhibit of woodcut printmaking: ‘The Woodcut: From Dürer to Now’. It was here, I asked how variations and layering of colour in woodcut prints were achieved and was gladly shown the original blocks of Nana Shiomi’s Mitate No. 48 – Mirror (Kagami), gifted to the Pallant House’s Print Collection from the artist herself. I was able to see the residual inks on these blocks, adjacent to the strikingly vibrant final print which mystified me, especially in tandem with the iconic work of Hiroshige.
In the same show, ‘Skipper’ by Eileen Cooper RA spoke to my love of the seas and simplified colour. I believe I even have a drawing from this print tucked away somewhere. Alongside these works featured that of Emma Stibbon RA, Rebecca Salter PRA and Sara Lee, artists who inspire and excite the medium of contemporary printmaking even further.
For my 18-year old self, seeing these works and others was thrilling that day and I would later learn that without the acquisitions and generosity of the Golder – Thompson Gift, it simply wouldn’t have happened. My sincerest thanks goes to both Brian and Mark, who it has been an honour to meet and thank in person. To recognise the serendipitous and long lasting effects of seeing such work, and finding exactly who I have to thank for it has been wonderful. At its core, there exists kindness, partnered with faith in visual expression. Art enables amazing moments such as these and I am sure I am not alone in this experience. – George Cayley
Rabley Drawing Centre
Marlborough, Wiltshire, SN8 2LW
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