Ann Symes In the 1960s Ann attended Guildford School of Art where she qualified as a Graphic Designer. Now, working mainly with mixed media, drawing and printmaking, Ann's work evolves through exploring different materials and techniques and her intuitive experimentation with them. It’s a process that leads to new discoveries and this is what excites her. Once something resonates she will run with it allowing her thoughts, senses, environment and often words to influence the work.
Ann is currently interested in Japanese woodblock printing which is sometimes combined with other printmaking techniques. She enjoys the gentle effects produced by the use of watercolour and gouache paints in making Japanese woodblock prints (moku hanga). Although traditional tools are used Ann’s approach is experimental, playful and intuitive. Her blocks, usually carved with simple designs, are used in various combinations at the haphazard and creative printing stage making all her prints unique and impossible to repeat. Ann likes to push the limits of tolerance in materials such as the fine Japanese papers and the liquidity of the paint to see what will happen. Sometimes, with repeated overprinting on heavier papers, the reverse will interest her more where the paint has been forced through the fibres and created random patterning. Sometimes she will allow fine papers to just fall onto a painted, carved or uncarved block where it will not pick up the paint everywhere but create interesting shapes which can be left or overprinted. When the prints are dry Ann spends time trying different combinations and arrangements before cutting and gluing the prints into place.
The tea bowl collection has a quality of stillness and presence giving the images a quiet strength which is expressed through the placement of the vessel, an ancient symbol of containment, emptiness, fullness, offering and sharing and the space in which it sits.
From time to time the vessel recurs as an image in Ann’s work and appears again in her sensitive bowls formed from handmade paper. They express a fragile vulnerability accentuated when torn edges are held together by thread as if repairing a wound.
Ann owns Gallery57 in Arundel, West Sussex where she curates themed exhibitions throughout the year.