Richard Noyce
Rhiew House
Powys SY21 8PF
Wales, United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)1686 640625
Mobile: +44 (0)7973 409833

Keynote Presentation #4: "Beyond Making: Printmaking from the Outside"

I do not define myself as a Printmaker, neither do I wish to define myself as an Art Critic, because I am not sure that I trust Art Criticism beyond its limited academic value. I have written poetry and prose amongst all the other activities of a busy and varied life for as long as I care to remember and for the past twenty years I have also written about Art. I fell into this curious business almost by accident because an art magazine editor tried to sell me advertising for an exhibition I was curating and instead I sold him the idea of commissioning me to write about it for his magazine, which at the time seemed like a small victory. I have since then written about those aspects of art in which I am interested, or which have attracted me by reason of their strangeness, their unique nature, and mostly because of their passion. I have attempted, and hope that I have succeeded, in writing in such a way that anyone with an interest in the possibilities of Art can share my enthusiasm and my reactions. I do not, I hope, write in such a way as to limit comprehension of what I set down on paper to a fully art-literate or academic readership. Language is about communication and using one language (verbal) to communicate another (visual) is already difficult enough, without adding the confusion of complex academic language.

I believe that Printmaking is the most democratic of the visual arts, and has a unique ability for being more relevant to the lives of many people than does much contemporary painting, sculpture and time-based art. In a world society obsessed increasingly by the communication media the accessibility of the techniques of printmaking offers great potential to both the producers and consumers of contemporary visual art. At the same time the sheer volume of production of print art might be seen to create problems in sorting out what is relevant and what is not. Some years ago an artist friend told me he was thinking of applying for an Arts Council grant in return for which he would guarantee not to produce any work for a year. He had a point – the world can be said to be drowning in art!

Which brings me to the point encapsulated in the title of this presentation: I will endeavour to map out some aspects of Printmaking as it can be perceived from the outside, not by an expert because I reject that description of what I do, but by one who appreciates with increasing depth what it is that Print artists can achieve. In mapping out this territory I will endeavour to present some impressions of what the Print world is doing and some thoughts on what it can achieve. The intention is offer the possibility that, in a world threatened by powerful forces – both natural and man-made, the Print arts can help to build strong bonds of community among the people of the planet.

RICHARD NOYCE was born in 1944 in Chichester, Sussex. England. He was educated in Chichester and subsequently studied at Portsmouth School of Architecture and Leeds College of Art, graduating with honors in 1968. He worked for many years in various cities in the British Isles in Arts Centres, Galleries, and in Arts Promotion. He also taught art at High School for 13 years before moving to live in a small village in mid-Wales in 1999. Since 1985 he has written extensively on a wide range of subjects and artists for international visual arts magazines based in Britain and Europe. In addition he has curated exhibitions of international contemporary art and has written numerous pieces for exhibition catalogues. In addition he has written poetry and short stories. He has travelled widely, with a particular interest in Poland and Lithuania, and has lectured extensively on the arts. He was elected President of the Awards Jury for the 2003 Krakow International Print Triennale. His previous books are Contemporary Painting in Poland (1995) and Contemporary Graphic Art in Poland (1997) – both published by Craftsman House, Sydney, Australia and sold worldwide. In 1996 Contemporary Painting in Poland was awarded the AAASS/Orbis Prize for the best book in the English Language on any aspect of Polish Affairs. His forthcoming book is Printmaking at the Edge, due for publication by A&C Black (London) in early 2006. This book will address many of the themes and dilemmas facing art at the beginning of the 21st century through the medium of contemporary Printmaking, and will feature the work of 45 artists from 16 countries.