Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Salvaje Mexica: Humberto Valdez at Northern Print and Mujeres Mexicanas at Lime Street Gallery

There is a carnival atmosphere in the air... Yes, this could be due to the glorious sunshine filled days that we have experienced the past few days. But it could also be due in part to the ¡VAMOS! Festival taking place across North East England between 4 and 14 June 2015. The festival celebrates Spanish and Portuguese speaking cultures with a varied programme of events to suit different tastes and ages.

Tonight was the opening of a couple of exhibitions organised by Newcastle-based Mexican artist Erika Servin. At Northern Print there is an exhibition of lino cut prints by Humberto Valdez. "Valdez specializes in large format prints, mainly linocuts, woodcuts and etchings. His work is focused on using gestural mark making to reflect on memory, what is, and the desire for what was. His prints are a complex collage of historical references that have a constant relationship to social and political events."

The lino cuts are truly stunning. At times, clean, crisp lino cut marks are seamlessly positioned next to fluid areas of varied tones. The level of skill involved in these is incredible, and his experience is very evident.

Valdez has established and maintained a very successful print workshop with a reputation for instigating innovative printmaking workshops and community projects. He is also the founder and director of TIR - a community print project in Mexico City.

Erika Servin, Northern Print and Recyke y'Bike have created the UK version of a print-trike that Valdez set up in Mexico. By making a moveable printing facility, he is able to go to places and engage with those who otherwise may have never seen or used a printing press before. It is great fun!

The exhibition at Lime Street is by a group of women Mexican artists, all whom have strong individual practices, but also have the strong connection with each other. There is a real variety of prints, and very impressive, skilful work.

For more information about the ¡VAMOS! Festival visit

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