FETE DE L’ESTAMPE: This France-wide art festival of print work has, at its essence, open studio exhibitions of lithography, screen-printing, wood and linocuts but there are also workshops, conferences and print work demos alongside the 300 or so participating studios. East Finchley visual artist and filmmaker Denise Wyllie is the sole representative of the UK and admitted it’s the first time she has presented an open studio of her work in her immediate working (and living) environment.
Artist, printmaker and filmmaker Denise Wyllie
I had no problems locating her East Finchley studio. It was the one draped in French and UK flags! A celebration of this entente cordiale between our nations in the promoting of art processes she has mastered as an established, award-winning artist.
I’m admiring the art on show. Notice the tree shapes (explained below)
A conversation with Denise Wyllie about the source of her creative inspiration enlightened me about the distinctive shapes thrown by the trees that are a signature of her landscape series. The peculiar twists of the branches are common to Japanese prints and paintings because of the practice of binding and supporting them as they age or are damaged by the elements. This causes them to grow in new directions – not as nature first intended, but with a helping hand forming expressive, angular shapes that catch the eye and evoke a particular emotional response when captured in the tonality and light of the artist’s palette.
Exterior of Denise Wyllie’s back garden studio
Since opening her studio to the public on May 26, the steady footfall has kept her on her toes. This summer festival has attracted familiar faces from the exhibition circuit but also some neighbours and locals have been introduced to her work for the first time.