Lineage: Michael Craig-Martin, Ian Davenport and Julian Opie (3 stars)

This article is from 2011

Lineage: Michael Craig-Martin, Ian Davenport and Julian Opie

Edinburgh Art Festival 2010 - Printmaking, but not as we know it

Drip, drip, drip go the variations on a theme that form the quartet of works culled from Ian Davenport’s ‘Etched Puddle’ series, in which assorted rainbow-arrayed, candy-striped, multi-coloured streams trickle down into a similarly hued liquid carpet at the bottom of each frame. Seen together, they appear playfully and trippily retro, recalling the opening credits of that groovy 1970s teatime alternative to Blue Peter, Magpie. In the next room, something similar occurs in one of Julian Opie’s four ‘Japanese Landscapes’, a series of three-dimensional reflective treats akin to old-time breakfast cereal free gifts.

This is print-making, Jim, but not as we know it, and it’s perhaps telling that both Davenport and Opie are former students of Michael Craig-Martin, whose other Goldsmith’s alumni include the YBA generation of self-styled art stars. Davenport’s penchant for minimalist repetition is further explored in his ‘Ovals’ series, in which a simple shape moves from black and white definition to lemon yellow blanching out to a rich black and blue moonlight. The two examples of Opie’s series ‘This is Shanoza in 3 Parts’, meanwhile, suggest TV spy The Saint doing gymnastics.

Craig-Martin’s own works are a mix of the classical and the mundane, dominated by ‘Tokyo Sunset’, a series of six sunnily-delighted strip-cartoon depictions of everyday consumables: a watch, an opened drink can, a mobile phone, a light bulb, a guitar and some innocuous-looking handcuffs. Turning Japanese has rarely looked so lip-smackingly enticing.

Edinburgh Printmakers, 557 2479, until 3 Sep (not Sun/Mon), free.


  • 3 stars

An exhibition of prints by London-based artists Michael Craig-Martin, Ian Davenport and Julian Opie, all of whom explore the use of the line in their work.