The Neo: Artists have come along way since their humble beginnings in 2007 and this is reflected perfectly in what is their fifth successful print prize up to date. With entries from around the globe, spanning from far off lands such as Israel to more local artists, as well as artists from renowned institutions including the Royal Academy of Art, the Neo Print prize 2014 boasts a variety of entries embracing anything to do with print. With the help of an expert judging panel made up of art world giants Gordon Cheung, David Cleaton-Roberts, Paul Coldwell and Keeper of the Royal Academy Eileen Cooper RA, Neo: print prize 2014 is made up of 66 unique prints that have visitors questioning what is considered as a print in the modern art world. Of course the exhibition houses examples of familiar traditional printing techniques such as lithographs but also contains unusual pieces that some may argue do not belong in a print exhibition.
One such artwork is Dave Farnham’s “Caroline’s Ribcage & Heart”, a 3D print that displays the heart and ribcage of one of Farnham’s close friends. Many could argue that this intricate and fascinating print belongs more in a sculptural exhibition than a print prize but that’s the beauty of the Neo: Print prize 2014, it challenges the audience as to what is perceived as a print. Since the end product was created through a printer does this make it a print or does the term print belong exclusively to more conventional methods? Neo:’s answer would be that print as a medium is evolving and more technology is available to printmakers, just because this piece is 3 dimensional does it make it any less of a print as an ink jet piece? It is this concept that separates the Neo: Print Prize from other print exhibitions as Neo: considers unconventional methods and offers food for thought with their selection of artwork.
As well as controversial entries Neo: Print prize also offers beautiful and ingenious pieces of art that audiences remember for the strong and potent impressions they bestow. A person favourite offering was that of Maggie Hargreaves who entered her piece “Aspirational Living” consisting of lino block prints on wasp’s nests. It was not necessarily the print itself that earn the print its reputation but more the way Hargreaves decided to present them which bewitches viewers and creates a lasting impact on them.
Overall, the Neo: Print Prize is an exhibition every print maker and artist should take the time to see. It opens the eyes of visitors to more options in terms of the creation of prints and challenges them to question their own personal views. Neo have succeeded in acknowledging the effects modern technology is having on a traditional medium and moving forward with a modern contemporary exhibition bringing more light to the emerging Bolton Arts scene.
For More information please visit the Neo: Artist website at www.neoartists.co.uk or visit their gallery that can be found on the second floor of the Bolton Market Place, Bolton.