Mike Smith

West Yorkshire, UK

A member of the W.Y.P.W. Originally from Liverpool I have lived in Yorkshire for main years and I am now based in Addingham. I trained in graphic design at Liverpool and Newport Colleges of Art and it was during this time that I was introduced to printmaking in all its forms. I now work mainly through the medium of reduction lino printing. I enjoy the essentially ‘primitive’ character, craft skill and historical continuity bound up in the process of block printmaking; the intellectual and technical exercise of manipulating the original image to exploit the potential of the medium - and its serendipitous nature. By limiting the editions of my work I allow myself time to experiment within the process itself, sometimes on a print by print basis adding to their individual nature.

My work, based on my own drawing and photography, covers a range of subjects. The underlying theme is, however, that of attempting to capture and make a subjective response to specific instances of location and time; the momentary coming together of disparate elements and perspectives to create visual narratives that have, in themselves, small significance - but remain essential parts of a complete and uniquely personal aesthetic experience. My work for this exhibition is based on, what is a recurring theme for me, ‘Water’, elementally almost impossible to control and constantly changing its apparent nature. The surface of water can beautifully reflect our land/made world but we are never in doubt of the underlying depth and latent power it contains. Beyond its capacity to reflect, that surface can also offer a window to an alien world, one that, even with our best efforts, we can only clumsily explore.

In ‘Rio San Barnaba’ lies an irony and a visual metaphor. Venice, this architecturally most exquisite of cities is slowly being eroded by the very water that gives it its unique character; even the most perfect reflection begins to ‘crumble’ and distort.

‘Trout Pool’ offers the viewer a visual moment in time; a walk along the banks of a river, a not, at first glance, particularly significant view of the river through the trees. However, what is solid and what is void? What is reflection and what is an alien world glimpsed through that reflection?

‘Gannets’ is essentially about elemental forces. The power of the sun to generate pressure changes that give rise to winds that, not only can sustain the birds in flight but also give structure, by creating waves, to the latent power of the sea  - to enable it to inundate and destroy the very land we stand on.