The Oficina Bartolomeu dos Santos (OBS), is the printmaking studio of the eminent Portuguese printmaker Bartolomeu dos Santos, familiarly known as Barto. When he retired from being Head of Printmaking at the Slade School of Art Barto inaugurated a print prize in his name for a graduating MA Visual Arts: Printmaking student from Camberwell College of Arts. He died in 2008, but last year, through OBS, a new award of a residency in his studio in Tavira, Portugal was created, and Annika Reed has been its first recipient. The fully equipped studio offers facilities primarily for intaglio, for which Barto was so famous. However, the presses can be adapted to print relief and Reed took full advantage of this.
To offer tutorial support and the occasional glass of wine and local food, CCW Professor Paul Coldwell (himself a pupil of Barto’s) also worked in the studio on new prints to be shown at his upcoming exhibition at the University of Bradford in February 2015. Reed was incredibly productive and took full advantage of the residency, both consolidating the work she was doing as an MA student, as well as extending herself and taking risks, leading into new printmaking possibilities. ‘Everyone at OBS was really impressed with her work and energy and have confirmed that a similar residency will be offered for a 2014-15 MA Visual Arts: Printmaking graduate. I really hope that this is the beginning of a long association with OBS, and it is a poignant way of ensuring that the legacy of one of the 20th century’s great printmakers and teachers will continue to inspire another generation,’ said Coldwell.
Writing about her experience, Reed said, ‘Armed with one tin of black ink, five pieces of Japanese plywood, two rolls of Hosho paper, a camera and two sketchbooks, I wandered out of reality and into the studio of Bartolomeu Dos Santos in Tavira, Portugal.
I am interested in the question of life’s seeming absurdity and being taken out of my everyday life allowed me to find inspiration within my temporary surroundings.
I was awarded this residency at my MA show and I was cautious not to make prints similar to that particular body of work. Instead, I wanted to use the time and space to experiment with different ideas taking me out of my comfort zone in order to start a new investigation. Paul Coldwell was making a series of etchings in the studio alongside me and his guidance was invaluable throughout the residency.
Photography became an integral part of my enquiry in Tavira, with the shapes and patterns documented being echoed in my paintings and prints. Not all of the outcomes were successful. However, they will act as a vital starting point for further development back in my studio in London.
Working and living in the same space was a new experience and it allowed time for reflection and brought up a lot of questions, some of which are still unanswered.
The studio of Bartolomeu Dos Santos is an incredible place and my visit was made even more special by the people I met. They welcomed me into their family and showed me the local way of life, an experience I shall never forget.’