Donovan & Siegel: History Machines (3 stars)

UK premiere of new commissions and existing artwork by these Toronto artists

Donovan & Siegel: History Machines

Contemporary art often seems to have an uneasy relationship with printmaking, but Canadian artists Matt Donovan and Hallie Siegel are entirely comfortable, both in using it as their medium, and pulling it apart to look at what it does.

Some of the works in their show at Edinburgh Printmakers engage with historic processes, such as the Self-Printing Book, with its brass typeset pages (actually a text by Vannevar Bush, the director of the US Office of Scientific Research and Development at the time of the invention of the atom bomb). Text works on the walls appear much more modern, and show a sustained interest in and knowledge of typography.

There is such a range of work, even in this comparatively small space, that it's hard at times to work out the focus of their concerns. They playfully fuse ancient and modern with the Haikube – a kind of Rubik's cube for the making of haiku poetry, and the Portrait project, a wheel which prints out a looping text by experimental Canadian poet Christian Bok.

Other works ask questions of the digital, such as Alias, which uses embossed squares to mirror and magnify the effect of pixellation. While it sets out to show the frustration of trying to render a perfect curve, it becomes a beautiful abstract work in itself.

Edinburgh Printmakers, until 22 Oct, free.

History Machines by Donovan & Siegel

  • 3 stars

A UK premiere exhibition of new commissions and existing artwork by Toronto artists Matt Donovan and Hallie Siegel, that explores the enduring legacy of print that continues to shape how we communicate – even as we launch ourselves into a digital future.  The new commissions in this exhibition are playful graphic…


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