The Blue Of Distance

Lucy May Schofield

For printmaking workshops, book here

13 January  – 9 February 2018

Planet earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do.

Blue is the deepest colour. It is the colour of the sea, the great mother from which we are all born: there is a single breath between la mer and la mere, after all. Blue is a mood, and a music based on pain and disenfranchisement. And yet it is the sky over our heads on a perfect day.

There is some speculation as to how long humans have been able to see the colour blue: Homer’s famous description of a “wine dark sea” suggests a culture that had no knowledge of the colour. The Egyptians were the first people to have a word for blue and, not coincidentally, they were the first to manufacture blue dyes. It seems that a conceptual blue followed a commercial one.

For “The Blue of Distance”, named for an essay by Rebecca Solnit, artist Lucy May Schofield takes her cue from Leonardo da Vinci’s advice to painters: “…that which you wish to show at yet another distance, make bluer yet again; and that which is five times more distant make five times more blue.” Distance is not only measured by space but also by time: those muffled, misty memories, those blue remembered hills.

The show will feature fifteen of the artist’s Cyanotype prints called “The Longest Day” and a series of thirty Mokuhanga (Japanese water based woodblock prints) called “Nature Caress”. Cyanotype blue-printing dates back to the Victorian era and is often used for its efficacy as a detailed and precise recording medium. Its usual effects are ghostly and bloodless. Schofield is not interested in such specificity: her pieces are large and brooding, full of jagged silhouettes breaking onto rough terrain, recognisable objects looming like great blue shadows. One thinks of the Brocken spectre, that terrifying optical illusion, printed upon on the air in light.

In her workshops on Thursday 18th of January (11am and 7pm) Schofield will be demonstrating how to create Mokuhanga and give visitors the opportunity to ink up a woodblock and pass a print onto Japanese paper. Guests, of all abilities, will also get to see the artist printing in the gallery and discussing her process. There will be drop-in sessions and demonstrations as well.

We live on a blue planet under a blue sky. Schofield blues show us how we live, how we interact with the world around us, with nature, with memory. As she says:

“The depth of indigo, that dive-into-the-blueness blue, the blueness of loss, of wonder, of grief, of freedom, of desire, of lament. That bluest of blue.”

Blue is the colour.