The British Are Coming

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Plattsburgh State Art Museum
State University of New York College at Plattsburgh


Joe Tilson, Vowels, 1970
One of twenty-four artists chosen by Richard Hamilton to be published by the I.C.A. in a portfolio of prints that introduced many British artists to printmaking for the first time, Tilson pushed the boundaries of editioned prints to include collage, assemblage as seen in this print. A trip to New York led to the inclusion of new materials such as polyurethane and vacuum formed acrylic elements as well as an overt Pop sensibility. Photo: PSAM
Click thumbnail for larger image.

Thumbnail Image, Joe Tilson, Vowels
View the Show     Hamiltonís cooler theoretical approach and Paolozziís visual complexity reflecting interest in Wittgensteinian word games and surrealist random associations, both represented a more detached and philosophical approach to art making than the RCA students, who were also a decade younger. Hamilton proved to be an important catalyst in that he showed this group of artists how screen-printing could be a means of disseminating their work to a broader audience. Hamilton, in collaboration with Chris Prater at Kelpra Studio, had created a print that he considered to be a successful adaptation of the painting Adonis in Y-fronts. The ICA published a series of screen-prints by twenty-four artists selected by Hamilton. Among the twenty-four were Peter Blake, Patrick Caulfield, David Hockney, R. B. Kitaj, Eduardo Paolozzi, Peter Phillips, and Joe Tilson, as well as abstract artists Bernard Cohen and Howard Hodgkin. Many of these artists showed an immediate affinity for the mediumís characteristically flat finish and machine-like precision and pursued the use of the medium. Chris Prater and Kelpra Studio along with Alecto editions became important collaborators in the recognition and growth of this group of artists.
    The spirit of the times, the philosophy of the RCA, as well as its physical structure all contributed to it being the breeding ground for a new type of British art and sensibility. The School of Painting was adjacent to the School of Graphic Design and this proximity led to an inversion of what the head of the school had hoped would happen. RCAís principal, Robin Darwin, entertained the idea that the fine arts program would influence and inform the work of the Graphic Design program.
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(ARS), Permission for the reproduction of artwork courtesy of Artists Rights Society © 2006 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London.
(PSAM), Artwork from the permanent collection of Plattsburgh State Art Museum.
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