“One has to know the rules in order to break them.”
Taking the natural world, and for his printmaking the built environment, the decorative artist John Hinchcliffe has applied these inspirations, both representationally and abstractionally, to a variety of artistic disciplines including textiles, ceramics, painting and printmaking.
As he says in the preface to the book by Simon Olding, published in conjunction with his exhibition at The University of Surrey’s Crafts Study Centre in 2006, “My interest in crafts and construction, together with a love of decoration and color, have led my work into many different areas, taking me through a series of disciplines that includes woven and printed textiles and ceramics.”
After post graduate studies at the London’s Royal College of Art, in his mid-twenties, Hinchcliffe started to build an international reputation for his textiles concentrating on ‘exuberant’ wall hangings and rugs.
About which The Telegraph Newspaper has said “This was arduous and painstaking work, but the results were expressive, confident and forceful. They were works singing with color, and they attracted immediate attention.”
Dissatisfied with the laborious and time consuming nature of his textile work, in the 1980’s Hinchcliffe teamed up with the painter and tapestry weaver Wendy Barber to take on the challenge of enlivening British pottery with color. Combining their talents and in particular Barber’s business acumen they were successful in expanding their studio practice into the commercial arena of mass production.
Whilst the commercial work concentrated on domestic utensils Hinchcliffe also worked on abstract multi-media wall-pieces that called constructions.
“My constructions, comprised of twisting and painting strips or clay are about containing and controlling what would otherwise be a rather chaotic mass of abstract color,” he states on his website.
Around the same time, in the early years of this Century, Hinchcliffe also expanded his oeuvre to include painting floral still-life’s on paper and printmaking, making bold linocuts that capture seasons, places and history.
About his work Hinchcliffe has remarked “The gap between conceiving an idea and finishing it is sometimes very wide; therefore I prefer to make the initial ‘idea’ only, and the work grows and strengthens as I work and as colors suggest themselves. In this way each piece of work becomes an experiment for the next.”
The exhibition John Hinchcliffe Prints is currently on show at The Salisbury Museum until the 13th of February next year.