Prince Albert Gallery
A celebration of new work by printmaker Joshua Miles
4 April to 6 May 2019
57 Church Street, Prince Albert / www.princealbertgallery.co.za / email@example.com
In celebration of his first year living and working in Prince Albert a selection of the latest works by printmaker Joshua Miles will be showcased in a solo exhibition ”One Year” at the Prince Albert Gallery opening at 18:00 on Thursday 4th April.
The exhibition will feature reduction block prints and monotypes created over the last twelve months, the time Joshua and his family spent in their new place of residence, the Karoo town of Prince Albert.
“I am excited to show landscapes inspired by my new environments,” says Joshua, who lived and worked with his family in Baardskeerdersbos in the Overstrand before relocating. There will however also be examples of his, by now iconic, Cape Town scenes, especially Table Mountain vistas and impressions of the picturesque Cape fishing village of Kalk Bay.
Although Joshua majored in painting at the Michaelis School of Art (University of Cape Town) he quickly developed an affinity for printmaking through his aunt, the artist and art historian Elza Miles, and received tuition from renowned South African printmaker Cecil Skotnes.
“I painted for fifteen years, but have always experimented with lino cuts and woodcuts. It was during my stay some years ago in Scotland, in the quiet winter months when I really started to investigate printmaking, and I eventually created more editions than weeks spent there. That was with spoon printing - it was only back in South Africa (Baardskeerdersbos) where I got regular access to a printing press.”
Miles is one of only a handful of artists in South Africa who prefer reduction block printing, a laborious process where several layers of colour are printed on a single sheet of paper from one block which is gradually reduced by cutting away material. This process, which has a long Japanese tradition, is ideal for him, as colour has been crucial component of his work since his painting years. This ranges from stark contrasts to fine gradients - in both tone and value - not often associated with traditional Western printmaking.
“I also like the finality of the reduction process - the fact that the block is virtually destroyed after the final cutting stage,” says Joshua, who usually creates relatively small editions of each image. He also loves producing monotypes, a very different printing technique which produces only one work and is considered the most painterly of the printing processes.
Joshua’s work has come a long way since those early days of spoon printing in Scotland. He acknowledges much refinement in his technique. “I have noticed that my images have become more ‘crisp’,” he says. “When people comment that my prints have a ‘photographic’ quality, I take it as a compliment. I am certainly trying to portray as much realism through presenting as little information as possible.”
Although he has become known for his colourful and atmospheric impressions of natural landscapes and urban environments, he also loves creating portraits, still-lives as well as single objects such as flowers or everyday items. “My interests are wide and I will depict anything that moves me. I suppose my inspiration comes from the beauty in life,” he says.
“One Year” opens on 4th April at 18:00 in the Prince Albert Gallery in Prince Albert. It will be on view until the 6th of May.