Sarah Gillespie and Rabley Gallery are delighted to launch into flight two new mezzotints of a moth called Bordered Gothic. These two prints further explore the artist’s interest in moths and the luminous power of mezzotint engraving to express their beauty and vulnerability.
Each was made in response her recent six month artist residency with the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, conducted at the Cambridge University Museum of Zoology. The Bordered Gothic moth (Heliophobus Reticulata) is red listed as critically endangered and possibly extinct in the UK.
These two Mezzotints A Lament for a Bordered Gothic and Bordered Gothic (Small) engage us in the physical strength of scale to communicate the detail and tonal splendour of this small moth, which in reality has wingspan of just 32mm. In the large scale mezzotint Lament for a Bordered Gothic, 49.5 x 74cm the detail of the moths top wing pattern subtly contrasts with the softer underwings, emerging from an expansive plane of velvet darkness in the black background. The smaller study Bordered Gothic (Small) 20.5 x 20cm, draws us in with a casting light, framed by a paper border. Its modest scale does not lessen the images strong and beautiful presence.
Gillespie is one of only a few artists using the centuries-old medium of mezzotint in her contemporary practice. Within her depictions of moths, moonlit landscapes and blackbirds, she illuminates the beauty of nature and prompts contemplation of the importance of natural spaces and environmental conservation.
She studied 16th & 17th century methods and materials at the Atelier Neo-Medici in Paris and then read Fine Art at Pembroke College, Oxford. Twenty-three ‘Moth’ prints from this series have been acquired by the Victoria & Albert Museum for their permanent print & drawing collection. Her work is held in the Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, the Museum of Fine Arts, Yekaterinburg and the Xuihui Museum of Fine Art, Shanghai.