Dale Devereaux Barker talks about The Uses of Print
Dale’s printmaking is recognised primarily for his use of reduction linocut. This is the process whereby ink is applied to a piece of linoleum and printed onto paper. Some parts of the lino are then cut away and the block re-printed in a different colour to build up layers of information. Championed by Pablo Picasso who called this process ‘Suicide printing’ due to the unknown nature of the printed outcomes, this aspect of printmaking is exciting and full of surprises. Dale quite often eschews the tradition of making editions, preferring instead to experiment with creating unique impressions form the same block.
Dale’s forays into lithography allow a more delicate, autographic response to his subject matter and he utilises the skills of master printers at the famous Curwen studio in order to exploit this aspect of his practice.
In terms of subject matter, Dale covers a wide range of topics, although many themes reoccur; his renowned swimming pictures stem from a lifelong involvement with the sport. From being a nationally ranked top age group swimmer, the switch from swimmer to artist took place when Dale had the fortuitous opportunity of an artist- in- residence at a swimming pool in 1989.This resulted in the first suite of swimming linocuts being made. These received universal critical and commercial acclaim. To date, Dale has made roughly one hundred different images on this endless subject. His ultimate ambition is to publish a book to celebrate twenty five years of combining printmaking with swimming.
‘Dale Devereux Barker makes art out of all sorts of things, out of pictures, out of works, out of humour, out of frustration, out of sex, out of sitting on the beach. Since graduating from the Slade in 1986 he has developed a pictorial language which is distinctive in its combination of figurative imagery and complex layering of more abstract planes and textures scavenged from outside sources.’
Taken from the essay 'What does one make pictures out of ?' by Emma Hill in the Exhibition Catalogue 'Excessive Pleasures'
For more information about Dale please go to his website.