The Stuff Of Nonsense and the Plight of the Butterfly
A celebration of Butterflies, Blake and Bong Trees through the eyes of lifelong ‘nonsense’ fan and printmaker Mike Tingle will be coming to our Courtyard Gallery for 3 weeks as we welcome our second 2021 bursary winner to this intimate space.
Mike discovered the Nonsense Icon while sitting outside the Eliot Alms in St. Germans enjoying a pint of beer. ‘I was reading a newspaper article about the medieval stave church paintings from Norway, with a photograph of a vaulted arched ceiling depicting an enthroned Christ with Apostles. I asked myself why, as a non-believer, do I like such things. The answer was to do with Myth, and the structure of the vaulted ceiling which made it look like a small object. I then (with the help of the beer) made an imaginative connection with a small wooden panel with cut out painted metal images I'd recently made for the Devon Guild of Craftsmen's summer show. It was of the Cheshire Cat with a dodo standing on top of the panel. I thought, I've made a Nonsense Icon without realising it. The word icon led to the idea of hinged doors attached to the panel front, and this in turn lead to the use of text in conjunction with revealed images. I had found my ideal form.’
Alongside the ‘nonsense’ will be printmaking inspired by William Blake, who has been a constant inspiration and influence on Mike and finally, on a more serious note, a series of work produced during lockdown to highlight the decline of the humble butterfly. These works printed onto canvas celebrate their wonderful structure yet draw attention to the ongoing threat to their numbers with several species already extinct.
Mike is a member of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen. His main method of printmaking is fine line etching but he has also experimented with embossing heavy papers through an etching press. These embossing’s made of white paper and shadows depict simplified figures in frieze-like form.
Mike has exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition many times and we are delighted to be showing his new work at the gallery for this exhibition.