Issue date: 25 July 2003

ISSUE DATE: 25/07/03

A major grant of £236,670 has been won by the University of the West of England’s Art, Media and Design Faculty to aid research into new ways for fine artists to use digital methods of printing. The three-year research project will include study of the potential of the latest two-metre wide-format printers. This is the latest in a series of grant successes by UWE’s Centre for Fine Print Research, which has now won more than 15 awards from the government’s Arts and Humanities Research Board.

Researchers will use the award to pioneer new methods of processing and printing digital images. Projects will include studies into ways of ensuring that digitally printed works of art last permanently, such as developing suitable inks that resist fading. They also intend to study methods of printing that have fallen out of favour – for example continuous tone printing - that together with better inks will lead to more faithful colour matching to the original artwork.

Steve Hoskins, director of the Centre, said: “UWE and the Centre for Fine Print Research have been one of most successful institutions in securing support from the AHRB since its inception in 1998. The grant - worth £236,670 over the next three years - will try to find new common ground between printer manufacturers and the domain of fine art.

“We will look at the question of whether an ‘all digital approach’ can continue to reflect the rich diversity and individuality associated with fine print and sustain the autonomy of the original print. ”

The grant will enable the Centre to set up regular digital print forums between fine artists and master printers and hold a series of master classes and seminars, culminating in an exhibition of digital prints in galleries in the UK and abroad. In its work the CFPR collaborates with the research laboratories of Hewlett-Packard, who have provided much of the necessary equipment and funded an artists-in-residency programme as part of their Art and Science European Philanthropy Fund. During a recent masterclass, delegates from the National Gallery and galleries in France and Italy had a chance to see for themselves how the latest printing technology could lead to permanent and accurate digital records of their priceless art collections.

Previous printmaking research funded by AHRB that forms a basis for the latest research includes reviving 19th century printing techniques that were in danger of dying out such as collotype and continuous tone photoceramics that provide a quality of print unobtainable by current technology.

Editor’s notes

Jpeg available of masterclass, showing:
Representatives of the National Gallery, the Allinari Archive in Italy and University of Strasbourg at a UWE masterclass showing how a digital archive of their artworks can be created.

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