Michelle Keegan is fascinated by Printmaking; she lives for it and has never ceased to be excited and amazed by its magic and potential.
The process is a fundamental part of the work. The images emerge through allowing the print process of etching and the personality of the metal on which the images are constructed, to become essential to the visual dialogue. The nature of the process demands clarity of thought, precision and reflection throughout the making process.
A Slade School of Art graduate, and winner of the 2014 Flourish Award for excellence in printmaking, Michelle describes her artistic practice as a way in which to conduct conversations with the landscape and reflect on notions of belonging, identity, rootedness, liminality, and ‘home’. The work explores the dynamics and ambiguities of relationships, therefore exposing private ways of seeing and that of wider public discourses.
Keegan is the senior lecturer in Printmaking at the University of Northampton and runs a small print workshop in Nottingham, which is her professional home. She strongly identifies with Romney Marsh, where she spent much of her childhood and adolescence as her spiritual home, a place whose desolate and minimal characteristics continually ‘haunt’ the aesthetic of her work.
Drainage dykes, sea walls, and electricity pylons are structures of modernity that traverse the flat expanses of the marshland. These act as departure points for sketches that she makes on site during her visits to the South. The drawings are then playfully distorted into overlapping layers of line and texture on zinc and copper plates. The etching process becomes one of spontaneous transcription, of feelings and memories, both familiar and elusive, which evolves as she works.
The results are intricate and complex multi-layered prints that resist literal interpretation and lack referential scale, honouring instead a physically charged and deeply personal mapping of the environment.