It was a scene Wolverhampton artist Linda Nevill couldn’t ignore.
‘I saw a few small bright blue tents erected at a canalside in winter – temporary homes for homeless people. In the distance behind the tents stood blocks of flats. The following week the tents had gone.’
Linda’s etching Homed and Homeless provides a silent commentary on the times, and won the Elsie Holland prize for outstanding work in a recent exhibition at Wolverhampton Art Gallery.
‘The scene stayed with me,’ she remembers. ‘It was the inequalities represented that made an impression on me.’
Linda has exhibited in cities across the globe, and finds she is often drawn to social themes and political issues.
‘I have been working as an artist for about 30 years, responding to a range of influences from the world around me. Sometimes these are social issues: homelessness, war, isolation, domestic violence.
‘At other times I explore atmosphere, light, moods and memories of landscape.’
Linda employs various printmaking techniques: etching, monotype, collograph and lino. Each piece she creates goes through several painstaking processes to achieve the final result. Homed and Homeless was no exception.
‘A few weeks later I had another look at the sketch that I’d done and the photos I’d taken…
‘Back in the studio I painted my image onto aluminium plate with instant coffee and a Chinese brush, covered it with etching ground, baked it, immersed the cooled plate in warm water, and rubbed the surface with my fingers.
‘Like magic, the image appeared.’
Linda uses instant coffee to create painterly marks, reproducing the physicality she enjoys when painting with oil.
‘I like the unpredictability of printmaking processes. On the one hand I want control over what I am creating, but at the same time I relish the unknown and the unexpected things that regularly happen.
‘There is also the excitement of the reveal when I peel back the paper from the plate to see my image.
‘Through my choice of subject matter, composition, colour and mark making, I aim to convey the intensity of my feelings to others.’
Linda studied History of Art at the University of Edinburgh and Printmaking at the University of Wolverhampton. She taught Printmaking and History of Art for many years and has valued the opportunity to exchange ideas with the next generation of artists.
She recently exhibited at the Asylum Gallery, Wolverhampton, and her work ‘On Bare Mountain’ is held in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s permanent collection. She also exhibits regularly with the RBSA and WSA.
Her work ‘War and Emergency’ has been touring for over two years as part of the ‘Re-Imagining the Laws of England and Wales’ exhibition, and is at the Herefordshire Archive and Records Centre until 24 November.
BA Hons Printmaking, University of Wolverhampton
Post Graduate Certificate of Education, University of Wolverhampton
MA Hons History of Art, University of Edinburgh
Selected Short Courses
2007 New Grounds Print Workshop, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA: studying photopolymer gravure and solar printing
2003 Non-toxic Intaglio Printmaking with Keith Howard, Dumfries, Scotland
2004 Monoprinting using Rostow and Jung’s non-toxic Akua Inks with Susan Rostow, New York, USA
Grants and Awards
2017 Elsie Holland Prize for outstanding artwork
2007 Arts Council Travel Grant to research fascinating old gas stations, motels, diners and signs: investigating the legendary Route 66 in Arizona and New Mexico, USA, and creating solar prints in Albuquerque