Interview With Quinten Edward Williams

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Johannesburg-based friend and associated artist of David Krut Projects, Quinten Edwards Williams, recently spent a week in the David Krut Workshop (DKW) located at Arts On Main, in the – Maboneng Precint, Johannesburg. Quinten made use of his time exploring his expression through the medium of print making.

We sat down with Quinten in order to gain further insight into his experience at the workshop.

DKW: You are part of a group painters’ exhibition currently on show at David Krut Projects titled Along the Line. How has the transition between media been for you?

QEW: The transition from paint to ink is challenging, but rewarding.  Although both painting and printing processes result in visual conglomerations, the technical processes underlying the fields are quite different.  I think that because they are different, I always reconsider my painting process during the printing process.

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DKW: What are you currently exploring with your monotypes and etchings being created at DKW?

QEW: My work deals with the formation of environments.  For some time I have been thinking about how environments form through the emergent interactions of bodies, only sometimes including the human.  My works grapple with the idea that interaction in complex environments is uncertain: we cannot know all aspects of an environment.  While I have been interested in the interactions between various bodies, at the moment I am thinking more about the internal states of particular bodies.

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DKW: What are the technical complexities you are beginning to understand about printmaking?

QEW: Each time you make a print, your body learns something new about the process. Printmaking is an activity which entails thought and a material handling of ink.  The ideas you are working with are mediated through a handling of material.  Because you make prints with your hands, over time your body learns how to work with the ink on the various surfaces for various purposes.  While at some point you may start to be able to imagine the print as you are working on the plate, I am more interested in how the body learns the processes, and starts working in a more intuitive manner.

DKW: Jill Ross, Kim-Lee Loggenberg and Neo Mahlasela have been your collaborators and guides through this printmaking process. How has it been working alongside them?

QEW: It has been great.  I always learn a lot through the various conversations we have. Sometimes quite serious ones about the direction that a print might take.  Sometimes quite frivolous ones as we discuss a wide range of topics during the working process.  These encounters are always a lot of fun, and help me to reflect, in conversation, on my practice.

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DKW: Some of the works being created at DKW are of a large scale. Do you feel that scale plays a role on the impact of a piece for yourself and the viewer?

QEW: Prints on a wall, between other prints, produce particular relationships between each other.  Scale does influence this, but so too does colour, and expressive quality, amongst other things.  I am interested in how works of art are bodies within environments.  A print in a printmaking workshop is experienced alongside a wide variety of bodies: prints; a printing press; printers; inks; blotting paper; rollers; brushes.  The workshop is a rich expressive territory.

DKW: How would you describe the environment at DKW?

QEW: It is a space where experimentation through hard work is emphasised, where people are most generous with ideas, and support, and where everyone seems to be enjoying their work. Very fun!

DKW: Can you describe printmaking and its influence on you as an artist, and why it continues to have timeless relevance?

QEW: I enjoy printmaking because it offers me something different from other types of making activities. Printmaking is an activity that requires planned movements, but it is also filled with unexpected results. Printmaking demands a strategic way of making that remains open to adaptation, and variation. I am not able to say why printmaking has timeless relevance, I think it might be different for different people. I enjoy it because the working process challenges me.

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Quinten is currently exhibiting work at David Krut Projects,Parkwood,Johannesburg for Along the Line, a group exhibition of paintings by Maja Maljević, Robyn Penn, Mary Wafer and Quinten Edward Williams. Along the Line takes the notion of line and painting as a starting point for the four artists’ individual interpretations to unfold