A picture of Paul Croft

Paul Croft

b. 1963, Belfast Northern Ireland

Paul Croft is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Painter Printmakers and currently Lecturer in Printmaking at The School of Art Aberystwyth. Since qualifying as Tamarind Master Printer (1996), his research has focused upon technical, social, historical and contemporary aspects of British and International Lithography. He has published two seminal books on Stone Lithography (2001) and Plate Lithography (2003) and has curated exhibitions: Stone Plate Grease Water International Lithography 2007-8, Contemporary Chinese Printmaking 2014-16, Xiaoxiang Exhibition of International Printmaking 2015.

He has exhibited his work in the UK, Ireland, USA, China, Australia and New Zealand. As a collaborating printer he has worked with artists from across the UK and Wales including, Mary Lloyd Jones, Shani Rhys James, David Tress, Pete Williams, Pete Davies and Stuart Evans.

Elemental Radicals and Passages of Landscape represent two series of prints produced by Paul Croft since 2015 from the collection Language & Letters of Motif.

These prints reflect Paul's continuing interest in developing visual language and use of signs, symbols, alphabets, letters and characters. Fascination for motif sometimes deriving from seemingly insignificant objects, observed, found and collected, combine with research into the etymological development of writing and the pictographic origin of letters, characters and words.

Through woodcut and lithography, synthesis of images occurs from objets-trouvés, still life, amulets and museum artifacts, together with characters borrowed and adapted from Chinese. Through composition, presentation and format, ambiguity and uncertainty of meaning liberates interpretation, enabling the prints to be viewed and read in calligraphic terms.

Elemental Radicals has been produced as a set of twelve woodcuts, printed in variable editions of ten, resulting in a total of 120 unique prints. Based upon the Elements: (Series 1) water, air, fire, earth; (Series 2) wood, stone, cloth, gold; (Series 3) people, man, woman, child; each woodblock carries a Chinese 'radical' or root character that is used in a form of wordplay. Through block rotation, over-printing, use of paper stencils and counter-proofing, each of the characters is interrupted, the meaning obfuscated or changed to create individual statements.

Passages of Landscape, which is also a set of 12 prints, printed in editions of ten variable impressions, started off as a Mokulito, and combines woodcut and plate lithography, printed using stencils and counter-proofing. The prints inspired by aspects of landscape, play with the Chinese characters for: (Series 1) mountain range, peak, mountain, hill; (Series 2) creek, waterfall, river valley, gorge; (Series 3) grassland, marsh, plain, forest.